Thursday, July 5, 2012

Love As Cold As Ice

Published: August 15th, 2012
The Ice Princess (The Princes Trilogy # 4)
By: Elizabeth Hoyt
Forever Yours


As the madam of Aphrodite’s Grotto, the most infamous brothel in London, Coral Smythe knows everything possible about men’s needs and desires. Yet she’s never experienced the love of a single man—not even that of Captain Isaac Wargate whose hawk-like eyes stare at her with both condemnation…and lust.


Captain Wargate heartily disapproves of the sensuous madam who always wears a golden mask. She lures his officers from both his ship and their duty. But when Coral herself is offered up as the prize in a game of chance, Wargate impulsively enters…and wins.


Now the puritanical navy captain has just seven nights to learn everything he can about the mysterious madam and what she knows of a man’s desires. But when Coral is threatened by the new owner of Aphrodite’s Grotto, will Wargate take a chance on the woman beneath the mask…and on love?


   This is the story of Coral Smythe, a madam of the most famous brothel in London, Aphrodite's Grotto.  She has spent her entire adulthood pleasing men and being left feeling cold.  She's never been in love or felt any true pleasure for herself.  It amuses her that the upright Captain Wargate, who comes to collect his men occasionally, seems to disparage and lust after her at the same time.  However, when the new top shareholder of the brothel, a cruel man, offers Coral as the prize in a high stakes game of chance Captain Wargate enters on impulse.  After winning the rights to Coral, he is determined to spend their seven nights getting to know what's underneath the mask she wears.  In such a short amount of time, Issac manages to raise her opinion of men and treat her like a woman instead of a prostitue unlike all the others.  But can they build a lasting relationship on their time together?  I felt cheated at the end of this story.  Yes, I kept in mind the fact that it is a novella and not a full book.  But if she was going to attempt to give Coral a happy ending, it should have occured that it was going to take an entire book to be believable.  I did not believe in the romance pretty much at all.  Issac was practically Puritanical, not interested in lowering himself into the bed of a prostitute.  I also had a really hard time believeing that there was anything like real love between them.  And could Coral really resolve all her issues in only seven days?  No freaking way!  As much as I was interested by the plot, the premise and the execution it just didn't work for me on the same level as the rest of the series did.  I honestly don't approve of novellas as a way to establish complicated plots and resolve them as beautifully as the ideas deserve.  If you're going to tell a story that is slightly complicated but doesn't ride on a intricate completion, that's what a novella is for in my opinion.  Disappointing, but still not a complete waste of time.

VERDICT:  2/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This novella was published for the Kindle on June 1st, 2012.*

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