One cool thing about reading historical romances is that you get to learn what things like “pelisse” and “peignoir” mean. Sometimes there are interesting details in the books like what they actually ate back then.

And sometimes historical romances are just so much fluff and silly confectionary. An excuse to throw words like “pelisse” around without any historical accuracy backing it up, and a heroine who is anachronistically liberated or allowed to be a professor or zoology or some crazy thing like that.

Not Royal Blood . I was pleasantly surprised to get:

a) history lessons of English and French kings during Tudor England

b) quotes from English poetry

c) an amazing amount of words in the dialogue like “plaguey” and “noyance” that made me feel sometimes like I was back in English Lit class reading Shakespeare.

d) VAMPIRES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep, history, romance, historically accurate dialogue, and vampires. You know kirsten was swooning.

However, before the rest of you go “awwww, it looked like a great book before kirsten said “vampires,” let me assure you this is quite a new take on the whole thing. I can’t really explain without giving away major spoilage, but let’s just say that there is no ages-old vampire falling for a young innocent woman. Not. At. All. The focus of this book is entirely on political intrigue. With the romance, of course.

A french princess, Renee, is sent to the court of Henry Tudor to spy and retrieve a relic important to a french cardinal who wants to be pope. At court, she gets caught up in political plots agaisnt the King, machinations between two cardinals, and mysterious murders. Plus she meets Michael, the adopted son of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland who has come to court to make a name for himself.

I pretty much liked the whole book until the ending, when for some reason, the book, which has for 80% of the story not fallen into the tired old traps of “I love you, but I can’t have you” or “I saw you one night kissing a lady’s hand and so I think you are married and can’t have you” kind of thing, decides to have the heroine stab the hero and tie him to a bed for their own good. It just didn’t work for me.

And then some loose ends are tied up, but some others aren’t. Some loose ends are left so dangling I would assume there’s a sequel, but it looks like all the author’s other books are stand alone, so I found that to be somewhat unsatisfying.

Otherwise it’s a fantastic book. And I might even use this book as a recommnedation for people willing to be open to trying out the romance category of books but have been turned off by bodice ripper covers.

I’ll defininetly be reading Rona Sharon’s back list.