Vani is a charming, innocent, and lovely young lady who is destined to be the wife of the king. Oh, and she was also kidnapped as an infant and raised as a slave in a world of magic. She has much to learn in a short time before she is introduced at court and she needs the strength and talents of her friends and family to succeed as well as to discover where her heart lies.
Vani's naïveté and her sheltered upbringing provide a nice balance to her determination and abilities which makes the story plausible. She is a very endearing character and I found myself wanting to be able to help her achieve her fortune. The other characters are also very carefully detailed, whether tyrannical or nurturing. While the story does contain many characters, they all serve a purpose to the plot.
I would recommend this story for teens and above; the length of the text as well as the reading level may be above the ability of younger readers. It did take longer than usual to immerse myself in the plot--the first three chapters lay a lot of groundwork that appears unconnected--which is why I give it only four stars. I look forward to more books in this series.
I really like Regency romances and mysteries so I elected to read this book. John and Victoria Archer are delightful characters (and the central figures in the series), but I found the stars of this story--Nathaniel Archer and Charlotte Haywood--to be a bit lacking in depth. Nathaniel, the Duke of Peckham, is an avowed bachelor who just wants to enjoy the entertainments society has to offer. Charlotte is an American heiress and head-strong woman who just wants to become an Egyptologist. Their paths cross when Miss Haywood becomes the ward of Mr. Archer (the Duke's uncle). The Duke has the unfortunate luck to be too close to a pair of high-society murders and his very life may depend on Charlotte ... if he can just figure out who has kidnapped her and where she has been hidden away.
The characters are very likeable and I want very much to like the book; however, the plot is just a bit too thin and predictable. The most jarring note is how such an independent woman who despises the British social system makes absolutely no effort to control her finances and has kept no real contact with anyone in the States. There are also a few too many minor typos to interrupt the flow of my reading.
I'm always a little nervous when it comes to volumes of short stories. They are usually so variable. Such was the case here.
I really enjoyed "Glorious Song of Old". It is about a young girl named Carol who has grown up in a world where music is banned. She has vague memories of music and has a talent for it so she feels a great longing for this forbidden fruit. A traveling exhibit of aliens comes to her dark and depressing world and she finds a kindred spirit ... and then some. This story struck a chord with me.
"The Angel and the Rose" is a costumed Christmas wedding with quite a twist. Interesting, but not quite my style.
I couldn't even find a story in "Laeti Triumphantes". Seems like something is missing, perhaps?