cover image THE PRINCE'S BRIDE


Victoria Alexander, . . Avon, $6.99 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-380-81821-1

Lacking the sympathetic heroine that made her previous Shelton family adventure so charming, Alexander's latest Regency-era romance (after The Marriage Lesson) focuses on Jocelyn, the self-described "pretty one" who's dreamed since she was 10 of marrying a prince. Now the belle of London, Jocelyn captures the attention of Prince Alexei of Avalonia, but her accidental eavesdropping on a conspiracy against Alexei endangers her life, forcing her to marry hastily and flee London. Unfortunately for Jocelyn, her new husband is Rand Beaumont, a "mere" viscount; unfortunately for Rand, Jocelyn doesn't take well the dashing of her princess dreams. Enforced seclusion in the countryside opens the couple's eyes to each other's merits, creating a respect that blooms into love. When the plot against Alexei snares Jocelyn and Rand again, however, Jocelyn is forced to choose between her new love and her longing to see her princess dreams come true. Though Alexander struggles to transform Jocelyn from a title-hungry mercenary into a loving, humorous wife, the change doesn't take, perhaps due in part to Jocelyn's misguided focus on the problems in Avalonia instead of in her own marriage. Readers will rush through this romance with their sights set on the youngest Shelton sister, the irrepressible Becky. (Dec. 4)

Forecast:Avon is pushing Alexander, its romance Superleader for December, in an impressive way, and it's no wonder, considering that the author's previous titles have achieved over a 70% sell-through. Although this isn't Alexander's best effort, readers who were hooked by her earlier books will undoubtedly pluck this one off the shelf.