Redonk Nutshell: Naive down-on-her-luck heroine is stuck staying at the Earl of Radnor’s Gothic Wales home & becomes entranced by his haunted yet tender nature

I have and will always be a fan of Gothic fiction.  Something about dark castles, haunted heroes and ridiculous heroines always manages to bring a smile to my face.  It makes me feel like…well, autumn.   Like cracking the windows on a windy brisk day, climbing beneath a blanket with a good enthralling Gothic book and a cup of tea.  Heaven.

The Perils of Pursuing a Prince flirted with many Gothic themes. 1) castle 2) innocent heroine 3) brooding & mysterious hero 4) some unknown tragic past that must, above all costs, be kept buried

Greer Fairchild is a woman on a mission to track down her inheritance, desperate to having something of her own so she can be independent.  The kicker is, her inheritance is supposedly tied up with Welsh relatives, relatives she’s never met or seen and knows nothing about.  She and her elderly companion, and Owen Percy,  a male friend they pick up along the way, travel the countryside toward Wales.  Things get complicated when Greer’s companion unexpectedly dies, leaving her with Owen in the middle of Welsh countryside.  Luckily for her, Owen helps her find her way to the Earl of Radnor, her distant Welsh relative, who just so happens to be the very same man Owen is looking to confront for his own reasons.

Rhodrick Glendowe loathes his parasitic and caustic cousin, Owen.  When he shows up on his doorstep castle with a beautiful woman in tow he’s immediately skeptical.  He suspects some scheme to swindle money out of him.  What he doesn’t expect is to be inexplicably drawn to Greer.

Greer, meanwhile, is utterly bewildered with her predicament, as most Gothic heroines tend to be.  Owen is very convincing as a pressing suitor, though Greer isn’t quite sure of her own feelings.  When Rhodrick bursts in on a romantic embrace between the two, he kicks Owen out of his home and locks Greer in a room, claiming it for her own safety.

At this point, we’re left wondering who, here, really is the “bad guy,” and we get to watch Greer stumble around aimlessly attempting to assert herself in a hopeless situation.  Luckily for her, Rhodrick is actually a decent guy, despite the fact he refuses to elaborate on why Owen Percy is so horrible.

I ended up really enjoying this book.  There were moments I found Greer’s naivety exasperating – sure, she’s confused about her reaction to Owen’s advances, but at the same time she’s rendered senseless by Rhoderick’s as well.  I mean c’mon! Get a hold of yourself, you hussy!

There’s lots of lusting and yearning lurking amid the sharp arguments debating character between Rhodrick and Greer. It’s a lovely dynamic.  I thought Perils makes for a great modern take on Gothic fiction.

The Perils of Pursuing a Prince by Julia London, 370 pgs, pub 2007

Rating: B

Romance: 3/5          Raunch: 3/5

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