To Wed a Wicked Prince by Jane Feather
I wanted to like To Wed a Wicked Prince by Jane Feather (2008). What's not to like from the sound of the book? 1807--London--Russian prince sweeps almost on-the-shelf, nice English daughter of an earl off her feet.
Prince Alex Prokov, one-time closest of friends with Catherine the Great's grandson, now the Czar of Russia, needs an English wife for his "spy" duties and wants access to the house where the mother he never met once lived. Livia Lacey is English, runs in all the correct circles, and happens to live in the house in question.
Of course, though I can't really see why, Alex is also immediately fascinated by Livia. He courts and marries her incredibly quickly--leaving off a couple of important details: the identity of his English mother and the nature of his true work goals, the ones that require a wife, during this time when England and Russia, supporting Napoleon, are at war.
The story lies in the unveiling--excruciatingly slowly--of the truth to Livia.
My two biggest complaints--the title and the details. The word "wicked" from the title doesn't fit at all--"secretive" or "covert" or something along those lines, yes. At 490 pages, this book just didn't hold my attention, and I actually enjoy reading about history. Somehow, this story didn't do anything for me, and the more pages that passed, the less I had any interest in what happened between Alex and Livia.
Call me a cynic, but I also don't think this "marry in haste" story would have ended nearly so happily in the world outside of romantic fiction.
My overall personal rating of To Wed a Wicked Prince is a C+.