Saturday, June 25

The Barefoot Princess by Christina Dodd

Book 2 in the Lost Princesses Series

This book started out great… and got progressively worse, which was terribly disappointing. In the beginning, when our princess-in-hiding, Amy Rosabel, kidnaps our hero, Lord Northcliff (Jermyn Edmondson), with the intention of making him take notice of the poor way his tenants are living, the scenes are sarcastic, humorous, and witty. Dodd subjects Jermyn to Amy’s tough love treatment, and it’s hysterically funny to watch him rage and rage to no avail. He’s kind of (okay, definitely) a jerk in the beginning, which makes it doubly fun.

From there, the book goes downhill. Amy becomes too docile for my liking, and I missed her fire. Jermyn undergoes a radical change of character that isn’t well explained. The plot becomes silly, with too many small elements (that are even occasionally contradictory) thrown in to try and keep our interest in a story that’s less exciting by the page. The plot was downright boring by the end, and I struggled to continue reading as it was pretty predictable. After one explosive scene where Jermyn ties Amy up, and she fights to get free (which I loved), even the romantic plot goes downhill – especially with Jermyn’s TSTL tantrum.

 Jermyn has trust issues because his mother ‘left’ when he was a kid and has a TSTL temper tantrum when he discovers Amy left her sister because ‘no female can ever have loyalty when they leave their happily married sister to go off in search of their own destiny. Please. That would be too normal. Die, ye evil wench, and be vanquished from my life forever as my soul is ripped out of my chest by the terrible nature of your betrayal – which by the way was not even to me personally, but I shall take it that way so that I may forgive thee nevermore for thy non-sins.


I hate those stupid temper tantrums. They don’t make sense – and who wants to be married to an unreasonable jerk who has stupid snits like that? ***** REALLY REALLY BIG SPOILER ALERT***** Who, by the way, is okay with you leaving him and has all his trust issues resolved when he discovers that his mother didn’t leave him when he was little to be with her lover, but was actually murdered by his ass of an uncle. Yes. That would make me trust people again, too. WTF? ***** END OF REALLY REALLY BIG SPOILER ALERT***** So, really our hero – despite some good scenes where I like him – is an unreasonable, reformed-for-no-apparent-reason good guy.

One more thing – Jermyn’s attitude toward women started out as really superior and breathtakingly annoying, and it was hard for me to see definitive change in his thought process. It was clear it did change I was just left wondering as to why. In fact it was hard to see the reasons for Jermyn’s behavioral change at all, which was annoying. You could tell it occurred, but you weren’t quite sure when or what specifically triggered that change as Dodd never writes about any epiphanies that Jermyn has. There’s one time when he starts to have a revelation – but it’s really a rather insignificant moment. On the whole, he was not a good hero and Amy was only a great, unique heroine until she fell in love with Jermyn. That was perhaps the most disappointing part of the whole story for me – the loss of her fiery spirit.

Some other problems - in the ton, being a Princess would be a huge deal, but when Amy is introduced as a princess it's like they meet princesses every other day. Also, why is she so blasé about everyone knowing she's a princess when she's kept it a secret all these years? You'd think with assassins purportedly after her, she'd be a bit more worried. Finally, there appears to be a gay earl towards the end of the book. Now, please don't think I'm discriminating against gays. I live in NY. We have legal gay marriages as of yesterday. Half of my best guy friends are gay. I support everyone being sexy in their own way, so don't take this as a homophobic I-hate-gays statement because I LOVE ALL PEOPLE EQUALLY REGARDLESS OF SEXUALITY. Okay? But truth be told, people in historical times did not love or respect gay people and there were very few open gays. And people certainly never joked about it. I mean, come on, it's barely acceptable in our times. It certainly wouldn't have been acceptable then. It was little nuisances like those mentioned above that really wrecked the ending for me and annoyed me. I'm not a stickler for historical facts, but when an author blatantly ignores the historical culture it pisses me off. I bought a historical, not a contemporary - and the characters should act accordingly.

Finally, in the Kindle edition (which may not be true of other print editions) there were some grammar mistakes. There were also a few contradictory statements – for example, Miss Victorine (the adorable old lady who is an accomplice to Jermyn’s kidnapping) is described as bony when Jermyn holds her – and a few pages later, her face is described as plump. Hmmm…. But those mistakes were minor, and did not impede/influence my enjoyment (or lack thereof, towards the end) of the novel which went from breezy and fun to stilted and boring relatively quickly.

Favorite quotes:

“I rather like my house.” (Miss Victorine)
“The roof leaks.” (Amy)
“It has atmosphere.”
“Miss Victorine, that’s not atmosphere, that’s rain.”

“That is a manacle.” (Jermyn)
“So it is.” (Amy)
“Around my ankle.” His chest constricted.
“You’re a bright one.”

I would kiss you anywhere you instructed—on your lips, on your breasts, on your—” (Jermyn)
“My lord, please!” (Amy)
“—shoulders. Really, Amy, what did you think I was going to say?”

“Sexy”ness rating: Hot

Overall Rating: C

Bottom Line: Starts out great but is pretty average and unexciting by the end. A unique principle for the beginning, what with the kidnapping of the heroine done by Amy. Hero is damn annoying in the beginning, just as a warning…

Pages: 380
Published: January 31, 2006
Genre: Historical

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