The Serpent Prince - Elizabeth Hoyt My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book. This one's got 2 parts.

Well, should've posted a while ago but this book is really good and I didn't expect it to be thus. Actually I wasn't sure what to expect reading what Simon was in the other two books. And that dandy is killing me, oh man and I mean that in a good sense!

Simon is looking for revenge. He's an expert swordsman and apparently, after two men got killed in duels, people look at him as if the Death is walking by. Simon is troubled, tortured. He wants the men who killed his elder brother Ethan, would do anything to accomplish that. So, when he was attacked and almost murdered by those killers who still roam free, he wasn't expecting Lucy to fall into his life. He wasn't thinking of falling in love and getting married at all. And Lucy, even though a country girl, is also smart, forward in her opinions, yet manages to be distractingly sweet. So, what hope did Simon have of surviving her? Well, none. And, I'm so glad they fell for each-other just like that.

Simon is a rake, well at least was before Lucy. I've recently found out I'm not as fond of this species anymore as I used to be when I started reading HRs. They usually grate on my nerves with their 'conquests'. And, I was never a particular fan of a dandyish hero. Simon is that, too. So, where does it all leave me? This book's making me re-think my ideas of a rake and a dandy. He maybe both but there's a man underneath I'm beginning to get addicted to. The moment he started calling Lucy 'my angel', I was gone! It should've sound like another thing coming out of his sly yet charming mouth and probably make my eyes roll (yah, I do that a lot while reading the 'rakes'), it didn't. There was this reverence, this yearning in his words to Lucy that won me over instantly. Never expected such a thing from that dandy for sure!

Without any qualms I can state that I love Lucy a lot. She garners your trust, respect and a lot of liking. As I mentioned earlier, she is very smart and sensible, very honest about her emotions and she knew she felt something for Simon when she found him in that roadside ditch close to her house. Her world is very simple, more so comparing Simon's, as she lived all her life in that little village, Maiden Hill. I think this is what attracted him to her initially, her honesty about things. She understands him like no other, cared for him in his sickness and Simon, in his entire life, never found anything like this, at least not from a woman. Even his mother preferred his brother, the late viscount, to him. Again, how can a mother do that, something I guess I'll never understand.

There were quite a few scenes I loved in this book. I really liked the way Simon handled Lucy's surly yet protective papa Captain Craddock-Hayes. Those scenes are full of fun. Lucy was quite impressed! There are other things too, it'd take much more space if I talk about them, which I really want to but can't. What I wanna talk about now is Simon and Lucy's relationship.

Simon held himself back, a really worthy feat IMO, when it came to Lucy. He didn't make one tinsy-winsy advance towards her when he was recovering from his attack wounds. Even not when he saw her bathing, was dying to have her but took the matter in his hands ... literally. *that scene was HOT* He adored her, still does. He knew in his mind that he needs her but he thought his fate has been decided when he sought for revenge. He never thought he was worthy enough, didn't want to corrupt his angel. Lucy was being courted by this vicar so he thought this is for the best and left her. But, Lucy had already made it clear that she returns the feeling. Simon's presence was something she treasured all through his stay and knew, even though the vicar courted her for 3 yrs, can give her a stable life, she can't live that. She needs more from life so she didn't want to betray Eustace by marrying him. So, even though she knew Simon possibly wont come back again, she broke off that engagement. I kinda felt for the man, he was nice but just not Simon, lolz. I think he's better off with Lucy's friend Patricia, who already has a tendre for him but needs to marry for money. This is another story which I'd like to see some more of.

So, 2 yrs ago, when his brother was killed and he fought those duels and killed those men, Simon thought it's all done. But, now he knows there are other people involved and started his hunt again. After some thoughts and reflections, an innate fear, vulnerability (whatever you call it); something he ruthlessly ignored before and hid behind his rakish, dandy facade, comes back to haunt him. He's so overwhelmed that he rushes back to Lucy, feeling only she can save him. If not save, at least help him and soothe him when he needs it. And Lucy immediately said yes. It's like she knew he's troubled and needed her. Man, don't you just love that?

Then before marriage he fought a duel, killed another man and found Lucy in his doorstep and ... Well, the scene thereafter was very intense ... I wanted him to go ahead so badly, you know. He would've, if he wasn't interrupted. It showed how much he needs her in his life. No, I wasn't repulsed that he was bleeding from his wound and had another man's blood over him. Lucy, too. Though this incident made her a bit scared, she had second thoughts but ultimately she didn't back off. Also, there is the scene in the greenhouse before this. I loved what Simon said to her, of how much he wanted her.

And, after they married, god oh god ... can't tell you how hot this man is, his words are. I always prefer a man who speaks with his actions but Simon, he speaks through both words and actions. Love scenes were awesome, mostly because of his intensity and the passionate words he says to her, of how he wants her all the time and things he wanna do to her. He kept saying sorry to her throughout the 1st love scene because he'd hurt her. *sigh* His words moved me to a primal level and guess I understood how Lucy felt. It was so good to know that she reciprocated the feeling.

Finally, wanna talk about some secondary characters. Already talked about Lucy's seafaring dad, the vicar Eustace and her friend Patricia. There is Christian, Simon's friend though IMO it won't stay long that way under the circumstances. Ethan's widow Rosalind and daughter Theodora whom Simon calls Pocket. Just adorable! Lucy's manservant Hedge is a clown, I love reading him. There are others as well and love them too. EH's secondary characters are as enjoyable as her h/h. :)

Lord, what a book! This book was so full of emotional upheavals, angst and so many other things I didn't really expect at all. Overall, a beautiful love story, no doubt about that.

Simon did remind me of Derek from DOY a lot (and this coming from a HUGE Derek fan). He is so intense in his feelings, as I've already mentioned, I was having tinglings all over me. Last 5/6 chapters were probably the most intense of the book. Many times I had to put it down for a while and then pick up again. I didn't know where things are going, even in the last chapter I thought Simon might not make it, physically, emotionally ... I didn't know what to think. His whole being was consumed by the thought of revenge but at some point it was all Lucy and how she'll take it all when she finds out. He couldn't stop himself, then thought he won't be able to live with himself if he hurt Lucy. And he knew his 'stern angel' would never approve of his actions. He was always scared that he'll lose her, she'll leave him. It was so painful to read. Lord, I felt for him, I felt for Lucy and I cried a lot.

Lucy, she had a very big decision to make and I don't envy her for it! When she followed Simon and found out he's been dueling, it was an astounding shock to her. She tried and tried to make him understand this is not the way but couldn't make him see reasons. I didn't know what to make of it all and confused just as she was. Then at one point, she decided to leave him when he was determined for one last duel. I have to thank Lucy's dad, he made some really good points which made Lucy see that she ultimately wants to be with Simon no matter what, because without him, she can't survive.

There was a letter Simon wrote to Lucy before the last duel, thinking he'd die anyway (as in giving up on life), that letter was really heart wrenching. Then he destroyed his precious greenhouse and rose garden in it. He tended and worked on that greenhouse, loved his roses specially. He just gave up when Lucy left him and ... Oh, how can I not feel for the man! I'm so glad she returned just a day after, didn't drag it along.

Now, I can comment on many things about this book. I'm really impressed and sad that it ended. I REALLY wanted an epilogue, don't know why Ms. Hoyt left out epilogues for TLP and this one. The ending, again, felt abrupt or maybe I wanted one more scene, one more love scene ... one more anything ...

This was a really dark book, maybe even much more than TLP and TRP. It was full of so much anguish and sadness but most of all love, that I was overwhelmed. Though the starting chapters were a bit slow, it picked up pace very soon and I didn't find a single frustrating scene in this book. As I said, I was sad, I cried, I felt overwhelmed but not bored or frustrated. Suffice to say, it'll be in my keepers shelf along with TRP and TLP.

I'm giving it a 5 star gladly. :)

PS: Have to mention, there was a fairy tale called "The Serpent Prince", I really liked it. It does allude to Simon and his tortured soul, as in with the serpent prince who possessed silvery hair and eyes. I'm sure when readers read it, they'll know what I mean by this. The story started out as a fun, as Simon was recovering in Lucy's house. When he found out Lucy is an expert artist, he wanted an illustrated book with this story, specially for Theodora. But, in truth, with it, he only wanted to engage Lucy to talk/stay with him. There is no mention of it's source so guessing Simon made it up. And, the story had its own happy ending. Lucy saw to that. :D