Princess In Disguise by Karen Hawkins (The Duchess Dairies #1.5)

bookAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Historical Romance

Publisher: Pocket

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Michelle

Princess Menshikov of Oxenburg, Alexandra Romanovin, is done being courted by men interested only in her position and wealth. Inspired by tales told by a beloved tutor of the bold and brawny men of Scotland, Alexandra visits that misty land, hoping to find true love. But while traveling without the protection of her royal name, she finds herself accused of thievery by an angry innkeeper. Rescued by the dashing and handsome Earl of Kintore, she thinks she’s found the answer to her prayers—a man worth falling in love with. But Kintore has other ideas. An avowed bachelor who long ago swore off marriage, the earl wants nothing more than a passionate interlude with this beautiful, exotic stranger. But soon Alexandra’s intoxicating beauty and seductive touch leave Kintore wondering if a mere interlude will be enough…

I enjoyed the setting and the premise for this unique novella. Alexandra, Princess Menshikov, was traveling from her home country of Oxenburg to Scotland in hopes of finding a husband. She had been in mourning for her first husband after only one short year of an arranged marriage. While she did grow to love Dmitri after they were wed, Alexandra was afraid of being married off to someone else in the same manner. She was aware that her uncle, the king, had been interviewing prospective suitors, so she decided to take charge of her own happiness and search out a husband of her choosing this time.

James Keith, Earl of Kintore, happened upon Alexandra when he stopped at an inn for the night. He was quite drunk, and had been that way for the better part of the last few years, ever since his sister died. He took the loss extremely hard, and was intent on going through life not feeling much of anything (hence the drinking). When he found Alexandra sleeping in the parlor, he immediately was attracted to her and assumed (incorrectly) that she was a servant at the inn. They end up sharing a bit of an interlude until he discovered she’s actually a princess. He had no intentions of being trapped into marriage and he knew that would be the natural consequence of dallying with royalty.

Kintore tried his hardest to keep his distance from Alexandra. He was determined to ignore his attraction for the mysterious princess in hopes of avoiding attachment, but he was drawn to her like a moth to a flame. Alexandra had no such qualms – she wanted the handsome earl from the minute she woke up to him kissing her, and decided that he would suit her perfectly. When a snowstorm left them both stranded at the inn, she planned to use their time together to her advantage to try to work her way into his heart.

The characters in this story were engaging and I didn’t dislike either the princess or Kintore. He was a flawed but thoroughly charming hero, and she was friendly and impulsive and a little spoiled. The plot was a bit far-fetched, though. I had a hard time believing Alexandra would travel all the way to Scotland to find a husband simply because her Scottish tutor filled her head with stories of his homeland. I don’t know if it was because this was a novella instead of a full-length book, but there was just something lacking. The chemistry between them seemed genuine, but I didn’t quite get caught up in their romance the way I would have liked. While I enjoyed this short story, it didn’t seem up to par with others by Karen Hawkins.

I give Princess in Disguise by Karen Hawkins 3.25 stars!

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