I read this book after I read the last book of the series, The Prince’s Bride because I was intrigued by the mention of Princess Rose in the book (where her HEA wasn’t even mentioned). I actually bought this book last year but didn’t get around to reading it until after I read the final book in the trilogy.
I’d like to start with Rose and Leopold as a couple. I was actually intrigued by their relationship when I read the prologue. In it, Leo was in jail for treason and for plotting to kill the king (Rose’s brother) with Rose feeling betrayed and heart broken. We also find out that Rose does not want to hear Leo’s explanations and tells him that it is over between them. The prologue ends here.
Now, we read the backstory on how Rose and Leopold really met. See, Leo was in fact with the opposition, headed by his father to overthrow Rose’s family. In fact, the plan was to seduce Alexandra (now the current Queen; see Be My Prince) and in so doing, take over the Kingdom of Pettersbourg. This did not come to pass however, and Leo breaks off with his father and tells him that he does not want to be involved in the plot to overthrow the King. it was revealed that Leo does not have any interest in taking over and ruling as king, especially now that he had fallen in love with Rose. Rose and Leo meet in secret and their relationship is not discovered until Leo was captured and charged with murdering Rose’s father and attempted murder to her brother. Word goes out about their relationship and Rose decides to marry another.
Thoughts on Rose marrying another
Let me back up a little bit. Rose was already engaged to marry the future Emperor of Austria, Joseph but she had broken off her when she feel in love with Leo. When Leo’s involvement with the whole plot to overthrow the kingdom was revealed, she felt betrayed (and rightly so) and decided to marry Joseph.
First off, I thought her reaction to the betrayal was appropriate. In fact, I would have felt the same thing if I found out that the love of my life was not one hundred percent honest to me, especially at this level. However, I just could not imagine marrying someone else right after all this happened, which was what she did. This just felt so shallow of her to do if she was professing that she loved Leo. Plus, this was Leo and Rose’s story so I was scratching my head a little when I read this part. I thought this ruined the story for me. After this, the story went bleh for me and it was not very exciting at all. I did appreciate that Ms. MacLean left out the marital relations that happened between Rose and Joseph.
Thoughts on their happily ever after
I liked how Leo redeemed himself by joining the war. I also liked that he rescued Joseph during the war despite his feelings. I just did not like that Joseph lived. See, the author was already planning to kill him off and by dying years later was just tacky because we all know Rose still pined for Leo (right?!). There was also a lot of martyring involved here which I thought was just too convenient to happen in real life. If the author wanted to kill Joseph, why not make him die a heroic death so I, as a reader, do not feel that Rose was just too shallow and Leo too forgiving.
I may have to read the first book in the series just to see how Randolph and Alexandra got their HEA.