by Katy Cooper

August 2000
ISBN: 0-373-29125-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Harlequin #525
Mass Market Paperback

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This is my second reading of Prince of Hearts, the first time I read it, I was captivated by the richness of the language and the descriptions that Ms. Cooper has infused this story with. While she doesnít give us a lot of political history, she does give us a sense of what the social climate was like during this time without overwhelming the reader with a lot of details that would have made this a dry, dusty historical textbook. England during the reign of the Tudors is an unusual time period to place a romance, yet author Katy Cooper has done it with a lyrical style that is wonderful to read.

This is the story of two people who have met on more than one occasion, the first time at 9 years old when Cecilia escapes her nanny to get some fresh air and to escape the boredom of court. Edmund had dismissed his tutor and retainers for some much needed time alone. When they meet in a garden and share a sweetmeat and a trick, they have no idea who the other is.

The second time is five years later, when Edmund, on a mission for his brother, King Arthur, runs across her sitting in a tree reading Latin. When his horse almost tramples her book, she stops him and he becomes intrigued with the girl in the tree who can read Latin, when most women arenít taught how to read at all. Edmund sees this as an opportunity to get to know her better. Surrounded by her family, her older brother John, her sister Beatrice and their neighbor, Sebastian Benbury, it seems a harmless thing.

Several years later, when Cecilia is serving as a lady in waiting for the Queen, she and Edmund cross paths again, although at first she was a little angry that he had not told her his real identity, she later realized that there had to be a good reason for it. In the meantime, the attraction and the love between them grows stronger and stronger. When Cecilia is offered the chance to spend time with Edmund alone, she jumps at the chance as she knows that they will never be allowed to marry. Edmund is a prince and must marry where his King commands.

Set amid the intrigue and petty jealousies of the English court, Prince of Hearts takes you into a world where the wrong word in the right ear or just the perception of impropriety could cause scandal. Mixed in to Edmund and Ceciliaís story is the story of Beatrice and Sebastian. Theirs is an intriguing tale that is told in her second book, Lord Sebastianís wife.

I truly loved this book. The characters thoughts and actions were true to the time period and their stations. I was impressed that the two main characters where open and honest with each other from the beginning. No big misunderstandings, no secrets and no lies to stand in the way of their happiness. This book, unfortunately is out-of-print, but if you can find it at your local used bookstore or even online you will not be disappointed.

Reviewed in March 2003 by Carolyn.

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