2012, William Morrow Paperbacks
This is her story. . . .
To the court and subjects of Queen Victoria, young Princess Louise—later the Duchess of Argyll—was the "Wild One." Proud and impetuous, she fought the constraints placed on her and her brothers and sisters, dreamed of becoming an artist, and broke with a three-hundred-year-old tradition by marrying outside of the privileged circle of European royals. Some said she wed for love. Others whispered of a scandal covered up by the Crown. It will take a handsome American, recruited by the queen's elite Secret Service, to discover the truth. But even as Stephen Byrne—code name the Raven—vows to risk his life to protect the royal family from violent Irish radicals, he tempts Louise with a forbidden love that could prove just as dangerous.
In the vein of Philippa Gregory, Mary Hart Perry tells the riveting story of an extraordinary woman—a princess who refused to give up on her dreams, including her right to true love.
The Good: Royals were definitely scandalous back in their days, and Princess Louise is a prime example of that. Headstrong and unrestrained, her belief that women should have similar opportunities as men had took her places she most likely never dreamed it would. At its core, this is the story of Louise struggling against her past, her mother the Queen, and her husband to find real love and happiness. It's not always pretty. It's painful and realistic and all the better for it.
The Bad: Louise's naivety, post-scandal, was just aggravating. She's strong and admirable, yet as soon as she realizes she's trapped in a sexless marriage, she's seeking out a boy from the past like a desperate drunk girl at last call. She's supposed to be worldly, but becomes a simpering fool about this boy who disappeared, unable to believe he could have ever left her by choice. It was seriously irritating and made Louise very unlikeable at times.