Merrimon Book Reviews

Machiavelli (1469 –  1527): Italian philosopher, writer, and politician and  one of the main founders of modern political science.
The Prince is a manual to acquiring and keeping political power and machiavellian has become synonmous with the use of cunning and deceit in politics or other arenas.

In Greek mythology  Phoebe was traditionally associated with the moon
Photo credit: Luc Viatour

Alahambra, considered on of the best examples of surviving Morrish architecture. 

Mihrab of the Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain,
another example of existing Moorish architecture

From Merrimon Book Reviews
The Once and Future Prince
 The Once and Future Prince by Olivia Gates
by Olivia Gates

  An exciting new romance voice takes it to the next level!

The Mediterranean kingdom of Castaldini has a unique flavor, not only in the mixing of Italian and Moorish culture but even more so for the stringent rules governing the line of succession.  Each king must satisfy the royal council of the reigning king and prove himself worthy in virtue, health, parentage, character and the success he has earned of his own merit.  Although these rules all sound noble to the outsider, the founding ruler created a hotbed of competition within the men vying to become king.  All his life, Prince Leandro D'Agostino fought to prove himself worthy but when his thoughts and actions scandalized the kingdom, the ruling party had no choice but to banish this renegade.  Now, King Benedetto faces the same dilemma as the founder of the empire.  He can no longer delay choosing a successor.  He sends Phoebe Alexander on a mission to bring Leandro back.  Once Leandro's lover, Phoebe refused to leave with him when he left the kingdom.  Now, she must find a way to seduce him into returning to the kingdom that exiled him.  Leandro decides to turn the tables on Phoebe and the king, refusing to return unless Phoebe herself bows to his command.  Phoebe knows she can never be his queen.  Leandro certainly made that evident years before.  With the passions reignited between Phoebe and Leandro, can love find a way of breaking through the past betayals? 

As the first book in the Castaldini Crown trilogy, THE ONCE AND FUTURE PRINCE sets the stage for the series with the creation of a fascinating legendary country that struggles between the ancient customs and the increased pressures of modernity.   Olivia Gates makes the country an i
ntegral part of the romance, not only in the beautiful sensuous landscape but also the country and its legendary history reveals the depth within her characters.  The hero Leandro is just as intense and wonderful as the readers encountered in her previous Throne of Judar series and yet, in her new series, Olivia Gates gives readers a hero with a unique flair. Powerful, emotional, successful, Leandro is the rebel of the family.  He is not about to surrender for the sake of making peace when he knows he is right.  Although guided by his values, Leandro is not moderate in his passion, not for the woman or the country he loves.  Just how far will he go to win back the love of Phoebe?  Amid the intensity of the hero, Olivia Gates gives amazing insights into the heroine's character, particularly the changes within her. At first, Leandro seems to be the focus of this romance, but Phoebe's story motivates the key moments in this romance.  She is the force within the romance.  Sometimes one mere sentence marks the transformation within her but that one sentence, that one step, reveals so much about her character.  Phoebe's development is the jewel within the main narrative. 

Part fairy tale, part archetypal, the notion of a good king creates the backdrop against which Leandro must struggle as the rebellious prince, particularly as politics, family and love create a conflict deep within the hero.  In the creation of the Castaldini kingdom, Olivia Gates creates a unique flavor by integrating some of the best aspects of historical romance genre in the creation of her kingdom and yet she adds an exciting contemporary twist to her romances as the kingdom and its royal family struggle to combine tradition with modern life.  As a relatively new but distinct romance voice, Olivia Gates has a powerful vision to bring together readers from various subgenres with her passionate characters and fascinating exotic landscapes.

Olivia Gates just has some of the best one-liners. And some wonderful insults! Sometimes I wish I could memorize them to pull out in times of dealing with some of the occasional jerks one encounters in life! Throughout the romance in dialogue and otherwise, the language is at once very classic and innovative, poetic and delightfully descriptive.  My main feeling after reading this many more days until I can read the next one?  In ONCE AND THE FUTURE PRINCE, Olivia Gates writes a romance that will jolt a romance reader out of a reading slump.  Passionate, poetic, and packed full of tension, THE ONCE AND FUTURE PRINCE is one powerful romance.

Publisher: Silhouette Desire (May 2009)
Series: The Castaldini Crown

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
Merrimon Book Reviews

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