Thursday, April 7, 2011

Harlequin Catches Royal Wedding Fever

When news of Prince William proposing to longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton broke here in the States, I told myself I was not going to get sucked into royal wedding goo-ga.

Yeah, wanna guess how well that is working out?  And other than the excuse for women to wear a pretty dress, I'm really not a "wedding person" by any stretch of the imagination (I say save the money for a down payment on a house and elope to Vegas.  Why yes, I love romance novels, why do you ask?).

To help feed into the royal wedding frenzy, those clever folks at Harlequin have announced a series of digital short stories called, what else?, Royal Weddings.  If you're a fan of the Harlequin Historical Undone line, these sound like they might be right up your alley.

Lionheart's Bride by Michelle Willingham

King Richard and Princess Berengaria, 1191
Princess Berengaria's lady-in-waiting, Adriana, takes her duty to the future Queen of England seriously—she will defend her to the death! When their sea voyage to the Holy Land ends up in shipwreck and capture Adriana knows her only hope lies with the mysterious Irishman, Liam MacEgan.
Liam escapes to reach Richard the Lionheart and together they plan a rescue mission. Nothing will stop these warriors from succeeding—their future brides are captive on Cyprus and they'll raise hell to claim them!
Prince Charming in Disguise by Bronwyn Scott

Prince George and Caroline of Ansbach, 1704
He might be the future King of England, but Prince George seeks a marriage that's more than a mere political alliance. Masquerading as a lowly nobleman, George heads to the court of Ansbach to woo the renowned beauty, Caroline!
Caroline has no knowledge that he's the most sought-after bachelor in Europe. But however much she's charmed by the mysterious gentleman, her duty is to accept a blue-blooded proposal... Still, she cannot deny she's wickedly tempted by his red-hot proposition!
A Princely Dilemma by Elizabeth Rolls

George, Prince of Wales (future Prince Regent/George IV) and Princess Caroline of Brunswick, 1795
George, Prince of Wales, with his mistress in tow, only lays eyes on Princess Caroline of Brunswick three days before their wedding, and his resentment is palpable. Christopher, Duke of Severn, knows all about arranged marriages—his new wife's fortune is the reason plain Linnet is wearing his ring!
Severn and Linnet must persuade the spoilt princeling and his soon-to-be bride that a paper marriage can become something more. But in trying to convince the royal couple, a tantalizing spark ignites between the duke and his convenient duchess...
Princess Charlotte's Choice by Ann Lethbridge

Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold, 1816
As Princess Charlotte prepares to marry Prince Leopold, her most trusted lady, Isabelle Fenwick, must remain chaste and beyond scandal. Yet she has never forgotten darkly handsome Count Nikkolae Grazinsky and the kiss he stole...
She later discovered the Russian had only used her for a wager, so why does he still seek her company? And why does the air tingle with anticipation when they are together? Surely this rake cannot be thinking of following Prince Leopold's example and making a love-match?
The Problem with Josephine by Lucy Ashford

Napoleon and Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, 1810

It's springtime in Paris and Emperor Napoleon is about to marry Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria. All around the city Napoleon's courtiers are preparing for the spectacularly lavish wedding. Everything must be just right...
Ordered to remove all portraits of Josephine, the Emperor's first wife, seamstress Sophie has to track down a talented artist called Jacques. He promises to carry out the commission, but only in return for a kiss for every hour he works...
What the Duchess Wants by Terri Brisbin

Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine and Henry of Anjou (future Henry II), 1152
 As one of Europe's most powerful women, Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, has a chance most can only dream of—to choose her own husband! One glance at the young, forceful Henry of Anjou and her choice is made.
Able to match her wit for wit, Henry's a true warrior and not afraid to disobey a royal command... But his love of life—and the bedroom—promises Eleanor a brand-new world of excitement!
With Victoria's Blessing by Mary Nichols

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, 1840
Preparations for the young Queen Victoria's wedding have thrown all of London into a frenzy—but for Lady Emily Sumner, her own marital dilemmas eclipse all the excitement!
Forbidden to marry her beloved Lieutenant Richard Lawrence by her strict, status-conscious mama, Emily's chance at wedded bliss seems out of reach... But as Maid of Honour to the Queen, Emily discovers she has a secret weapon—royal approval! And with Queen Victoria's blessing, surely Emily's happy ending can't be too far behind...?
All titles are now on sale at a variety of e-retailers for under $2 a pop. 


Lil Sis said...

I want to read the last one with Prince Albert. I want to find out if he is "in a can." Hehehehe. Sorry, couldn't resist! :)

Jennifer said...

I'm with ya Wendy. Who wants a large wedding when you can have a 3 week vacation in Hawaii at the same price? Hawaii doesn't have a waiting period and no witness required. Plus they have sea turtles, volcanoes, and green sand. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

I do not even want to read the blurb of the books because I know I will want to read all of them and I have school to finish....oh summer please come sooner!

JamiSings said...

Not only do I support Vegas elopements, I would happily settle for a tiny diamond ring - as long as he got me the complete original series of Alfred Hitchcock & Three Investigators. In hardback. (I once found the complete original collection on eBay - for over $3,000!)

As for royal wedding fever - I could not care less. We're talking the son of two adulterers. I'm sure he's already cheating on Kate just like mom and dad cheated on each other. The apple doesn't fall far from the inbred tree.

Finally, I'm sure Richard would be far more interested in Liam then rescuing his future bride.

JoyKenn said...

I know enough history to be unable to suspend my disbelief enough to read these. Yes, Richard the Lionhearted was probably gay. And, many of these marriages were more political than romantic. The further you go back in history the less "romance" you see. Life was hard and you wanted the best provider, the gal with the best land and moneys, the person with the highest title and the most power to keep you safe and well fed. Just keeping alive and keeping your kids alive meant much more than romance which was a luxury most couldn't afford. I think the historical romance novelist who managed to get at both the reality and write a good romance is Roberta Gellis. She got both the politics and managed to write a convincing romance at the same time.

Wendy said...

Lil Sis: No joke - saw a Prince Albert can the other day while out with Ma & Pa!

Jennifer: Another instance where I'm missing the girl-gene. I like the fancy dresses and open bars - but other than that? Weddings = meh.

Anon: You should treat yourself after school is finished!

Jami: I have more faith in Will & Kate than I did his parents - since the circumstances are so different. But yeah, it's hard to not be cynical in this day and age....and I say this as a lover of romance novels. I'm not sure what that says about me. Probably nothing good! LOL

Joy: I think some of these have a good shot of working for me since so many of the blurbs read like royalty = secondary characters. I'm not a fan of royalty as primary characters. One of my personal quirks.

michellewillingham said...

Jumping in a little late b/c my blog feed was on the fritz. Thanks for featuring these, Wendy!

Yes, Richard and Berengaria are a little more secondary in this story because their true story wasn't all that happy. However, I couldn't resist putting a 2nd generation MacEgan in there (Liam) and the story was just so much fun--shipwreck! Overthrowing the emperor! Saving the bride and marrying her on Cyprus! (Did I use enough exclamation marks?)

So it was a fun project. I enjoyed writing it. :)