I love romance novels. I love the characters. I love their interactions and conversations. I often don't mind hard to believe plotlines, but I love the story of a man and a woman falling in love. But this is honestly one of the first books I've picked up from a new author that I've wanted to toss away almost within the first few pages.
I bought the book from the positive reviews I read and thought it might be nice to try out new authors as I have exhausted my two favorite authors' books to death with multiple readings. But after just the first few pages I honestly wanted to stop reading this book. I don't know if I'll ever pick it up again or even read any of her other books if they are anything like this one. This style of writing just wasn't for me.
The dialogue was seriously lacking any fire or even imagination. It didn't crackle off the pages with a delicious "I must keep reading" feel to them. Half the conversations were inane and simply boring. I kept waiting for the heroine to become something she wasn't being labeled as from the get-go. She was supposed to be an exiled princess and as the hero stated she was probably arrogant, spoiled and silly as any other royal he knew. And he was right. I kept waiting for Princess Caroline to become a character I could actually root for. She spent most of the book being obstinate and spoiled and trying her hardest to just cause a headache for the hero and the reader. She didn't seem the least concerned that death was knocking at the door and although I know the hero is supposed to be the reassuring force to give her the strength to continue her good-hearted personal crusades, I didn't get that impression at all. She seemed to find him an inconvenience most of the time and didn't seem overly concerned about much except her dead kingdom. I can see being a princess and all and wanting to restore your ancestral kingdom, but honestly, if someone said they marked you for death, I would be a bit more worried than she appeared to be. She didn't seem to be as plucky as the writer may have wanted her to be, instead she came off as annoying and bratty.
I didn't mind the hero as much though. Some of my favorite books has the hero being a heel for a good portion of it which can be frustrating. Although some actual depth is written into that aggravating male protagonist, he can come off as really high-handed and arrogant, but Drew didn't actually seem as rude and bull-headed as the heroine tried to make him out to be. He was probably the only one of the two who seemed to make much sense through most of the book. I could see why he would be initially attracted to Caroline as she is obviously beautiful and regal, but after the first few conversations, her beauty was about all I could see him staying attracted to.
The story was interesting enough and was a bit more believable than most stories out there, but it wasn't enough to save this book. From the annoying way everyone gained a nickname which ended up being only a four letter shortened version of their actual name, to the oversimplified dialogue, it was tiresome. The interactions just didn't have much going on, and even though sex is not a requirement in romance novels, even that seemed forced or poorly written. I don't go for the "Ohhhhhhh.." as a descriptor of a moment of passion. I like to read a scene laced with passion and sensuality without having to see the actual word that might be uttered in such a moment. It doesn't seem to do the scene any justice.
I might consider giving her books another chance down the road, but I doubt I'll be so quick to buy them without giving them a read through first. I can tolerate a lot of badly written characters, badly written plots, and even badly staged romances, but sometimes when it's all in one book, it makes it difficult to keep reading it.