Prince Devereaux is not an ideal role model. Rather than working to benefit his country, he spends his time drinking and dancing with a succession of beautiful women. He seems to have no interest in anything more serious.
Despairing of his brother, King Gabriel hires an image consultancy to improve the prince’s public image: the kingdom must have an heir, and no one will marry someone with Devereaux’s reputation. At first, Devereaux is reluctant to go along with the scheme, but he quickly finds himself enthralled by the passion and beauty of the consultant.
The modern romance world seems filled with billionaire playboy princes, in much the same way that Regency romances suggest an unsustainably high number of unmarried dukes are wandering around London at any given time. Prince Devereaux is a completely standard romance hero – he’s devastatingly handsome, emotionally damaged, highly and deceptively principled, as well as being fabulously wealthy.
There is a female lead as well, though (oddly), she’s not actually mentioned in the blurb. Mackenzie is at least as central to the plot as Devereaux is, and the narrative switches viewpoints between them – she’s more of a focal character than he is. Like Devereaux, she ticks all the romance boxes – she’s gorgeous and vulnerable with an iron will that simply melts when around the hero.
The Irredeemable Prince is very formulaic. It’s not trying to challenge your expectations or the conventions of the genre at all. Two damaged attractive people discover an intense attraction to each other, and fall in love while learning to heal. Everyone knows how it works. Go in expecting that, rather than anything groundbreaking, and you’ll be perfectly happy.
The book is longer than I expected, with rather a lot of plot hooks and important details being thrown out early on. Some of those hooks are for other books – links to a wider series involving other eligible bachelors – but an awful lot of them are part of the main narrative. All of those have to get wrapped up, and all of them have to link together. In places, the going gets a little slow – the romance is put on hold while the mafia angle is resolved. I could have done with a little less plot, with fewer characters having secret backstories and motivations. More focus on the main couple in the moment would have a made a tighter, more satisfying read.
Everything is very passionate. It oozes from every line. No one, in the world of The Irredeemable Prince is ever vaguely annoyed, or slightly tired. People are constantly on the edge, riding waves of intense emotion. They despair, they rage, they thrill. The situations, characters, and interactions are all dialed up to 11. Escape Publishing would like you to know that they rate it as “steamy”, though to my mind it’s no more steamy than the norm (insofar as that is a quantifiable quality).
The only real problem I have with the book is the occasional appearance of clanking prose, and that tends to die off later in the novel. Occasionally, the author tries to subtly add exposition to passionate clinches, which is a little bizarre. I’ve never kissed anyone while thinking about their place in society, and – if I had – I doubt that I would see that kiss as an intoxicating one. Similarly, a metaphor occasionally gets mixed or too specific, pulling you out of the story. To be honest though, I found these linguistic quirks to be more amusing than damaging.
The Irredeemable Prince is exactly what you’d expect from the cover, and no more than that. Romance tends to be something that people either take or leave, and this book isn’t going to make anyone swap sides. It’s energetic and enthusiastic, providing the right kind of happy ending for the right characters. I wouldn’t rave about it, but I would read it in an airport.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that I received a copy of this book free through NetGalley.