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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Midwinter Prince by Harper Fox

A Midwinter Prince by Harper Fox
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (150 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

When Laurie, son of a wealthy London baronet, takes a homeless young man off the bitter winter streets, he only means to shelter him. But Sasha is beautiful and passionate, and he knows what he wants. Soon the two are entangled in a wild and illicit romance. Sasha, an illegal alien, has dangerous connections and a violent underworld past that won’t let him go. Privileged Laurie has problems of his own -- a brutal father who holds the keys to Laurie’s golden cage and would rather kill him than accept his son and heir is gay, let alone in love with a street urchin. Laurie’s only hope is to run. In a Romani encampment with Sasha, he finds not only a safe haven but sexual fulfilment beyond his wildest dreams.

But their new happiness is fragile. Sasha’s secrets run too deep, and he vanishes, leaving Laurie desolate, as much an exile in his own city as Sasha has been. Now Laurie must grow up and find his own strength. Can he break free of his suffocating aristocratic world in time to save his lover and himself?

A chance encounter may just save Laurie’s life, he just doesn’t know it yet. Laurie Fitzroy is the young son of privilege. His family is wealthy and if not warm, at least he’s not out on the street like the homeless boy he encounters at the opera. Laurie’s gilded cage is about to be rattled by gypsy Sasha, a homeless but proud boy. Together Sasha and Laurie begin a tenuous relationship that has dangerous lurking on both sides and their future is anything but certain.

A Midwinter Prince blends a historical story with a contemporary setting to give a chilly yet very romantic tale. The novel is set in modern day London and pairs a baronet’s son with a roaming gypsy. The two have instant chemistry and the romance is lovely and moving. Laurie and Sasha create warmth and charm whenever they’re together that offsets the cold and freezing weather. This dichotomy is essential to the story as well, especially so when Sasha and later Laurie are on the streets. This is the perfect winter story to read wrapped up in a blanket.

The plot is laced with good tension as the outcome is Sasha and Laurie’s relationship is dubious at best. While the characters are very well developed and fully three dimensional, the setting and plot have some uneven bumps. The pacing is uneven and tends to leap forward in fits and starts. The writing is very formal and chunky, not especially easy or light to read. If you’ve read other books by Harper Fox, you’ll be familiar with this style of writing. The setting is contemporary but there is an old fashioned sensibility that is almost at odds with the modern time frame.

A Midwinter Prince should appeal to fans of the author first and foremost. Fox’s unique voice and style of writing are not for everyone and some may find the prose difficult and/or awkward. However the lovely romance and story reminiscent of star crossed lovers should help compensate for any problems. Passionate characters and good dramatic tension create a story that feels like a throwback to historical stories yet remains a contemporary.

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