The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: April, 2007
Hotness Level: Hot
Wealthy Lady Georgina Maitland doesn't want a husband, though she could use a good steward to run her estates. One look at Harry Pye, and Georgina knows she's not just dealing with a servant, but a man. Harry has known many aristocrats-including one particular nobleman who is his sworn enemy. But Harry has never met a beautiful lady so independent, uninhibited, and eager to be in his arms. Still, it's impossible to conduct a discreet liaison when poisoned sheep, murdered villagers, and an enraged magistrate have the county in an uproar.
Why this one: I just adored The Raven Prince, the story, her writing, and was eager to read her next one.
My thoughts: While this one didn't capture me quite as much as TRP, it was still a very good and enjoyable book. When I saw the premise of The Leopard Prince at the end of TRP, I thought the idea of a class struggle very intriguing, a bit different from your run of the mill historical. Purists (of which I'm certainly not one) might find this a bit hard to buy, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Georgina was a real treat. She didn't much care what society thought. She wanted Harry and she went for him. She is by turns innocent, charming, determined and sweet. Harry is - well - earthy. He truly is of a different class. No nice speeches from him. He made a wonderfully refreshing change from all the dukes and earls etc.
There is a bit of a mystery in this one - who is killing all the sheep. We know it's not Harry although he stand accused, but the real culprit I found a bit of a surprise. It wasn't who I thought it would be.
I also really enjoyed the second cast of characters. Ms. Hoyt has a way of making them quite vivid even though they don't play leading roles. She did this remarably well in The Raven Prince too.
Although maybe classified as second in a series, there is very little connection to The Raven Prince. The hero in that one only makes a very brief appearance at the end. So this one works quite well as a stand-alone.
And as for the title; this is a fairy tale Georgina tells Harry in bits throughout the book. And some of the telling is in very interesting stages!
I rated The Raven Prince a 5, but this one comes remarkably close
Grade: 4.5 out of 5