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Seducing the Princess by Mary Hart Perry
Mary Hart Perry’s acclaimed series of romantic Victorian thrillers continues with Seducing the Princess, inspired by the life of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter Beatrice. Painfully shy and lonely, convinced she is unattractive and unloved, the dutiful Princess Beatrice finally accepts that she will never marry and vows to devote herself to the queen in Victoria’s waning years. In fact, her mother has secretly discouraged suitors for Beatrice’s hand. Just when Beatrice has all but given up on love and happiness, she meets Henry Battenberg, a dashing nobleman from the Continent who matches wits with the aging Victoria and risks his life and liberty to woo Bea.
But Henry isn’t the only man interested in being welcomed into Beatrice’s bed. The timid princess has become the target of a cruel plot hatched by her nephew, the madman destined to become the last Emperor of Germany. Wilhelm II sends a ruthless agent, a charming Scot, to seduce the naive princess and spy on the queen. How can the sheltered princess hope to fend off a man capable of murder, and perhaps worse, to get what he wants? But Beatrice is not without her own allies–her older sister Louise and Louise’s American soldier-of-fortune and lover, Stephen Byrne. Will Beatrice discover which of the two men pursuing her she can trust, before it’s too late? Drama, romance and peril chase the royal family from Buckingham Palace to a storm besieged castle on the Isle of Wight.
Gregory watched the queen’s daughter weave down the alley of the dim barn and out into the sunshine. He laughed to himself. Girl didn’t know it but she was his.
He had seen it in her eyes. They had dilated nearly all-black at his touch. She’d trembled and reacted to him with unmistakable sensual awareness. He’d waited patiently for such signs these months as they’d ridden together, as he’d gently urged her to open up to him.
At first he’d worried that she might cling to her hope of Battenberg coming for her, but the missing letters did the trick. She no longer seemed to believe the Prussian loved her. He just hoped his agent had destroyed their correspondence as they’d discussed. Without the princess’s letters ever leaving London, and Battenberg’s missives intercepted before they could reach Beatrice, communication had been completely severed between the two. Moreover, his spies assured him that, whatever had transpired between the pair in Darmstadt, or later in London, their relationship hadn’t yet progressed to the bedchamber. Kisses and hand holding maybe, but Beatrice was still a virgin.
Which meant she knew almost nothing about sex.
Which meant he could use her naiveté to his advantage.
And now? He’d wait and let today’s little encounter sink in. Let Beatrice think about touching hands, about how much she missed Henry’s kisses and how nice it would be to be kissed again—by someone conveniently close by, someone she’d learned to feel safe with, and who knew how to please a woman.
In the meantime, there was this bloody job in the mews to get rid of. He needed to move up in the world, and fast, if he was to woo a princess, the task set for him by Wilhelm. That’s where he needed the help of the queen.
I’m thrilled to be visiting you today at Harlie’s invitation. I already knew about our mutual love for stories with a HEA ending. (Although I have to admit not all of my novels do end with a completely cheerful romantic resolution, my most recent books are HEA stories.) The other connection we share is Texas, where Harlie lives. I grew up on the East Coast but lived in Texas two separate times, in San Angelo (West Texas) and later in Houston. And those years made a huge impression on me, widening my view of the world and enriching my experiences with people and cultures.
Later, I lived in other parts of the country. For three years I lived in Italy. (Now that was another life broadening experience!) But each new place where I lived or visited gave me more and more details and ideas for store away for my novels. Of course, I didn’t always know that was what was happening. That I was fueling books as I moved from day to day. Because I didn’t know I’d end up being an author.
If you’re a writer, or have ever dreamed of becoming one, think about this: Everywhere you go, everything that happens to you, will somehow provide rich material for your stories. And I mean even the bad stuff. That’s one of the great things about writing. When we write, we get to turn even the worst people who enter our lives, or the most embarrassing incidents, or the most frustrating failures–into dramatic scenes that will become part of a larger story. Some writers refer to this as turning their lemons into lemonade. And those scenes you will someday write, will come so vividly to life that your readers will think they are right there with your characters, experiencing what happens to them.
So, when I describe my heroine and her surroundings in London in my latest novel, Seducing the Princess, I draw from some of my own experiences in that city. Sure, the city has changed since the 19th century when Princess Beatrice and her mother Queen Victoria lived there. But walking those streets, I could imagine what Hyde Park looked like back then, and how long it would take Bea to travel from Buckingham Palace to Kensington Palace, or to the banks of the Thames. I hope you’ll share those experiences with me and my characters, if you choose to pick up one of my romantic Victorian thrillers. And I’d love to hear from you about the parts you thought felt the most, or least, real to you.
Happy reading, living, and traveling–everyone! Mary Hart Perry
You know what gets me? That Queen Victoria, as progressive as she was, can really be a b*itch! To keep her youngest child as a “toy” because Albert has died was heartbreaking to me. Poor Beatrice. From the beginning of the book, I just wanted to hug her and tell her that everything would be okay. No worries. Henry is a fine man and will make you blissfully happy. Sadly, she had to endure a plot against her too.
Beatrice was a very strong character. I know, she doesn’t sound like it but she truly was and by the end of the book, it really showed. She was kind to everyone around her and a friend to her lady in waiting, too. Not exactly a pushover but what do you do when your mother is also the Queen of England. Plus, I liked that her sisters understand her dilemma and tried to help her.
Henry is an interesting character. He’s not your typical Victorian hero. There is no hidden agenda; not a rake or rogue; just a man in love with the youngest princess to Queen Victoria. He really was sweet to Beatrice and gave her the confidence to take a stand with her mother.
The villain in the book was truly despicable. I really enjoyed reading a historical where the true conflict was an outside source and that the hero/heroine had to work together to defeat the villain. Of course, if you remember your history…its not truly over… 🙂
I will admit that I have never been to England or Scotland but the descriptions of the settings were rich in detail and I really felt like I was in the setting, not just reading about it.
If you like your historicals where the hero/heroine are together, pulled apart and then have to work together to defeat the villain than Seducing the Princess is for you. It has the right amount of intrigue, romance, suspense, thrills and palace politics to keep this reader engaged. I was sad when it ended. I wanted more of my Beatrice and Henry. 🙂
Kathryn Johnson lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and two feline writing partners, Tempest and Miranda. The author of over 40 novels, she’s written under her own name and a variety of pen names, including Mary Hart Perry, Kathryn Jensen, KM Kimball and Nicole Davidson. She also teaches fiction-writing workshops for the renowned Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland. And, in 2008, she founded Write by You (www.WriteByYou.com), to coach other writers interested in reaching publication. She has been nominated for the prestigious Agatha Christy Award, and won the Heart of Excellence and Bookseller’s Best Awards (sponsored by the Romance Writers of America) in 2011.
Her works in progress include a series of Victorian thrillers inspired by the lives of Queen Victoria’s five daughters. The first novel, The Wild Princess, focuses on Princess Louise, who desperately wanted an education as a professional artist, at a time when women were not admitted into art schools. Her personal life becomes complicated when she uncovers a secret about her husband and must help protect her mother from an assassination attempt. The second book of the series,Seducing the Princess, launches April 2, 2013, and features Victoria’s youngest daughter Beatrice. Painfully shy and lonely, the dutiful Princess has promised never to marry and to devote herself to the queen in Victoria’s waning years. Just when she has all but given up on love and happiness, she meets Henry Battenberg, a dashing nobleman from the Continent who risks his life and liberty to woo Bea and save both his beloved and the queen from a cruel plot. A third novel, to be published later in 2013, will star Crown Princess Vicky.
Also find me on FB: http://facebook.com/Kathryn.K.Johnson.3
Twitter: @Mary_Hart_Perry and @KathrynKJohnson
Goodreads: Come find me as Mary Hart Perry
FACE BOOK EVENT Running March 31st to April 4th With an all day hoopla on April 2nd to celebrate the release of “Seducing the Princess”
Need to catch up? The Wild Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria’s Defiant Daughter Amazon. Louise’s Book