Castles by Julie Garwood (audiobook) – Narrated by Heather Wilds

Castles

Orphaned and besieged, Princess Alesandra knew that only hasty marriage to an Englishman could protect her from the turmoil in her own land. To the amusement of her makeshift guardian, Colin, younger brother of the Marquess of Cainewood, the bold raven-haired beauty instantly captivated London society. But when Alesandra was nearly abducted by her unscrupulous countrymen, the fighting instincts that won Colin a knighthood for valor were kindled.

Deceiving himself that he wanted only to protect her, Colin swept her into a union meant to be a marriage in name alone…yet Alesandra’s tender first kiss and hesitant caress ignited a wildfire in his soul. As the lovely princess dashed headlong into unforeseen dangers, Colin would follow, knowing he must claim her as his own forever. Now he would risk life itself before he would lose this sweet, tempestuous angel…

Rating: B+

I finished listening to this audiobook with a huge smile on my face. Yes – there were some aspects of the book as a whole that I found problematical, but an excellent performance by Heather Wilds – a narrator I will certainly be looking out for in future – helped me see (or hear) past those issues, and just sit back and enjoy the story for what it was; a well-written and well-performed piece of romantic fluff.

Castles is the fourth book in Ms. Garwood’s Crown’s Spies series. I haven’t read or listened to the other three, but I’d say it’s not necessary to do so in order to enjoy this one.

The heroine of the story is Alesandra, princess of some unspecified, European principality, who was orphaned at the age of twelve and brought up in a convent. When the story opens, the Mother Superior thinks that her prayers have finally been answered, as Alesandra’s guardian, the Duke of Williamshire, has written to say that he wishes his ward to travel to England take up residence with him and his family. When the princess arrives at his London home, it’s to discover that not only are the duke and his wife laid low by illness, but so is his eldest son, to whose care Alesandra was to have been entrusted. The only other option, therefore, is for the princess to move into the home of the duke’s second son, Sir Colin Hallbrook.

Colin immediately suspects his father of matchmaking and he’s completely on the money. Alesandra informs him straight away that she has to get married in the next three weeks and his name is at the top of the eligible bachelors lists prepared for her by his father.

Colin will have none of it but Alesandra is by no means disappointed by his refusal. She is certainly struck by his good looks, but she can already see that he is proud, arrogant, and will be difficult to manage so she promptly crosses him off the list and asks him to help her to choose a husband from the remaining candidates. Colin senses that the princess isn’t telling him everything and she won’t enlighten him further.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals, where I’ve given the story a B and the narration an A-.

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