I harshed on the last book I read by Jennie Lucas, The Innocent’s Dark Seduction because the alpha hero went way, way over the top for me. This is different, this is Ms Lucas back to form.
Grace is a doormat for her boss, the appalling Alan Barrington, who knows she’s hot for him and uses her. He could be the hero of a different romance, but thank goodness, he’s not the hero of this one. She’s running an errand for him when she is splashed by Maksim’s car. Maksim, it appears, is in wait for her, but she doesn’t know that at the time. Recognizing her boss’s business rival, she refuses to get involved with him, but he offers his help to her.
I liked the way Maksim abandoned his idea to use Grace as soon as he hears her story and realizes he wants her more.
This is a Cinderella story and it wears its clothes lightly, otherwise some aspects of the story would be uncomfortable. Instead of dropping a shoe, she drops a bag of lingerie, and she lives in the basement of her boss’s house. But it’s easy to see the origins, and Lucas intends it that way, making the veil between Cinderella and Grace almost transparent at times.
Grace is a doormat, like Cinderella, and Maksim is a prince, a Russian one to be precise. There isn’t a fairy godmother, thank goodness, but there is an evil ex mistress taking the place of both stepsisters (yawn).
Maksim is delicious. His turnaround halfway through the book is a bit too much to believe, and he deliberately hurts Grace, something I don’t think a hero should deliberately do, but while I hated Ms Lucas’s previous excursion into fairy tale, I enjoyed this one. Very Christmassy.
The epilogue will probably make your teeth ache, but the final scene in the book proper is delicious. Ms Lucas never forgets that this is a Christmas book, and this is one to be savored while sitting under the tree on Christmas Eve.
A B from this curmudgeon. Have a good one.
It’s Christmas time in London, and unwittingly Grace is swirled into the sumptuous and scandalous world of Prince Maksim Rostov. When the unworldly secretary learns he took her innocence in exchange for a business deal, broken-hearted she flees.
But when Maksim discovers Grace’s pregnancy secret, the ruthless Russian drags her to his guarded mansion in snowy Moscow. There he’ll keep her as his captive bride and unwilling princess….
Read an excerpt here.