Eve Edwards' Lacey Chronicles offer up historical romance for a young adult audience. I enjoyed both the previous two novels in the series, and was eager to break into this one. As with the rest of the series, The Rogue's Princess is a quick, light, romantic read, full to the brim with love, betrayal, drama, and sumptuous clothing. This series is perfect for fans of light historical romance. Though this is a series, each novel stands alone well. There is no need to read all of them or to read them in order unless that is your wont.
The Rogue's Princess features the illegitimate half-brother of the Laceys. Kit Turner works as a player on Burbage's stage, a peer of William Shakespeare. I love that in the first chapter, we get a glimpse of Kit's youth, when he tread the boards in women's weeds as a young boy. How often has the romantic lead in a YA novel dressed as a girl in his past? Now fully grown, though, he plays the romantic leads, the young heroes.
Kit lives a life of drinking and flirting until the day he attends the same party as young Puritan Mercy Hart. She captures his heart at first sight, and he sways her easily with his charms. Their instalove does bother me a bit, but it fits the time, as courtship was a much faster process in those days, since people needed to get married and breeding as soon as possible. The two have several cute moments, and, while they're not my favorite couple of the Lacey series, they are sweet.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Mercy runs more to the Fanny Price end of the heroine spectrum than the Elizabeth Bennet. What I mean by this, for those less familiar with Jane Austen, is that Mercy is shy, quiet, and endlessly determined to do right by God. She often doesn't stand up for herself when I think she should, and her constant reference to prayers and sins made me crazy. For other readers, perhaps those who enjoy Christian fiction, this could be an asset rather than a negative, however. On the plus side, Mercy does gain in spirit as the story goes along, all while retaining her values.
The attempt to add historical weightiness to The Rogue's Princess with Kit's imprisonment for treason does not succeed. He is imprisoned for such a stupid reason (drinking once with people who spoke of putting Mary on the throne) and there is no question that he shall be found innocent in this sort of novel. I appreciate the attempt to make it more historical and less a romance, but I do not think it played out particularly well, especially in how easily it is resolved in the end.
The Final Verdict:
Easily readable as standalones, The Lacey Chronicles consists of romantic stories set during the reign of Elizabeth I. The Rogue's Princess will even have appeal for a Christian audience.