|Pub. Date:||July 5, 2016|
It's been a long while since I've read anything by Janet Chapman, and I am so happy to have rectified that situation. From Kiss to Queen was a super fun and light read, a bit of a rags-to-riches romance featuring a royal prince and an orphan.
Our heroine, Jane Abbott, is hiking through the woods in Maine when a plane nearly falls on her head. She saves the beleaguered pilot with the kiss of life and pulls him from the wreckage under a hail of gunfire. While this scenario would have most heroines running for their life or screaming their fool head off, our Jane picks up her trusty shotgun and fires back. Jane takes capability and preparedness to a whole new level. All she needs is her trusty backpack and firearm, and Jane can survive the wilderness... she definitely would not be Naked and Afraid. Having been raised for her formative years by nuns, Jane is also extremely naive and innocent. While this aspect of her character could have gone overboard - I think the naivete was handled in a humorous manner that made Jane utterly charming. I loved her zest for life, her curiosity for new adventures, and her unknowing ability to make others fall in love with her. Jane had severe self-esteem and inadequacy issues stemming from her (lack of) family life, a disfiguring ankle injury, and past treatment by the opposite sex. This part was a little much for me at times, but I did enjoy the way the others built up her self-image in an attempt to get her to believe/realize her self-worth.
The lack of family and experience attributed to Jane was deeply contrasted by Markov Lakeland's situation. Mark is the heir to the throne in Shelkova, with a tight-knit royal family consisting of the patriarch (Reynard) and the four royal princes. Reynard and all his sons were endearingly mischievous, yet tolerant and affectionate toward Jane. Markov was decisive when it came to Jane, but he was also patient and willing to work on her issues. I liked him quite a bit - and loved to see Jane get him all riled up.
The relationship was not insta-love per se, but the relationship did move along at a quick clip. Mostly it was Markov claiming Jane and doing everything in his power to convince her to marry him. This unusual finding and claiming of extraordinary brides fell in line with tradition for the Lakeland men, and I found it an enchanting aspect of the story. While Jane's inadequacy issues were an obstacle to the relationship, watching her test the men, and the men work, in turn, to change her mind, was fun and entertaining and caused abundant chuckles on my part. I loved that the story didn't end with Markov's coronation and the royal wedding. I like to see what happens after the vows, and it was a lot of fun seeing Jane take the reins as queen.
The secondary characters in this story were just as endearing as Jane and Markov. I am really looking forward to Gunnar Wolfe's story with Jane's best friend, who some man recognize from the Spellbound Falls series.
I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkley Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.