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Princes #3

The Serpent Prince

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When the devil meets an angel...

Country bred Lucy Craddock-Hayes is content with her quiet life. Until the day she trips over an unconscious man—a naked unconscious man—and loses her innocence forever.

He can take her to heaven...

Viscount Simon Iddesleigh was nearly beaten to death by his enemies. Now he’s hell-bent on vengeance. But as Lucy nurses him back to health, her honesty startles his jaded sensibilities—even as it ignites a desire that threatens to consume them both.

Or to hell...

Charmed by Simon’s sly wit, urbane manners, and even his red-heeled shoes, Lucy falls hard and fast for him. Yet as his honor keeps him from ravishing her, his revenge sends his attackers to her door. As Simon wages war on his foes, Lucy wages her own war for his soul using the only weapon she has—her love…

362 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published September 1, 2007

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About the author

Elizabeth Hoyt

59 books6,706 followers
Elizabeth Hoyt is a New York Times bestselling author of historical romance. She also writes deliciously fun contemporary romance under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with three untrained dogs and one long-suffering husband.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 692 reviews
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,164 followers
March 2, 2017
The best of the series.
You know how you read these Historical Romances and the guy is Mr. Upstanding and would never ruin an unmarried virgin by having premarital sex with her? And then...

Well, the awesome thing in this book is that our RAKE, who supposedly has no morals and is doomed to hell for all eternity, actually proposes to our girl and doesn't have sex with her until their wedding night! It's crazy, right?

So, we have Simon and Lucy. She finds him naked in a ditch and dying of wounds after being attacked. They get to know each other as he heals, and then they get engaged. But, he has a deep dark secret (don't they all?). He has killed some men who killed his brother and he is planning on killing the rest of them. He's completely obsessed with revenge. Have I mentioned that I like this guy? Yeah, he's awesome.

Deep, dark guys are so sexy!

There was quite a bit of darkness and brooding in this story, but that's okay, because it also contained one of my favorite, and most British, lines in romance:

He fell on her like a starving man at the sight of a Yorkshire pudding.

One down side: No epilogue. Would it kill her to written an epilogue? I want to know more. Did he fix the greenhouse? Was she pregnant? Did she die in childbirth several months later? Is he burning in hell for all eternity while she says "I told you so" from heaven right now? I needs to know!
Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,600 followers
September 28, 2010

What a thrilling, romantic, sexy, and emotionally compelling conclusion – albeit a bloody one – to the Prince’s Trilogy!

Viscount Simon Iddesleigh is a man hell bent on avenging his brother’s murder and nothing and no one can keep him from his mission. Using whatever means he can, he hunts them down, calls them out, and then dispenses with them. The truth? Can’t say as I blame him, but the men responsible know what he’s about and they disagree with me. They’ve decided to stop waiting around to be killed. They’re turning the tables and the hunter has become the hunted.

Country bred miss, Lucinda Craddock-Hayes, happens upon a dead man – a naked dead man – lying in the road and rather than just leave him there, she insists on taking the body with her so she can make sure he gets a proper burial. Much to her surprise, however, the dead body moaned, thus dispelling her notion that it was dead at all and instead of seeing to a burial, Miss Craddock-Hayes takes this stranger home with her and much to her father’s consternation, takes on the responsibility of nursing him back to health. When he regains consciousness a couple of days later, Simon is shocked to find himself in Maiden Hill, so far from London and in Lucy’s care, but remembers exactly how he was injured, and who is responsible – and that only makes him more determined to get to “them” before “they” get to him.

I enjoyed both Simon and Lucy and thought they balanced each other perfectly. Simon’s eccentric nature in both dress and behavior was very different from any other character I’ve ever read about, and I really liked that about him. Who knows for certain why he chose to dress the way he did, but it’s one of the things I found most endearing about him because deep down, I believe he wore his laced shirts and red heels as an armor of sorts. You see, as a youth he was delegated to the role of the “bad boy,” and given little attention. So, as a grown man, dressing in the more flamboyant garb drew attention to himself, still remembering the boy who was otherwise ignored. Now, that said, we get a candid glimpse of the Viscount in an interview he did with the author, Elizabeth Hoyt. Here is a snippet of said interview:

Q: My Lord, you have been described as a rakehell without any redeeming qualities. How do you answer such an accusation?
Simon: It’s always so hard to reply to compliments of this kind. One finds oneself stammering and overcome with pretty blushes.

As I said, this was just a snippet of the interview, but it’s is just one example of how Simon armors himself against society’s less than flattering opinions of him – with humor. The full interview can be found beginning on page 367 of The Serpent Prince.

Lucy had such a good, good soul. I don’t think anyone else could have gotten past Simon’s defenses the way she could. Caring, unobtrusive, intelligent, wise... she really was his other half.

Once again we’re given secondary characters who were a delight to get to know. I don’t think I’ve had this much fun with non-hero and heroine people in any other series, ever. In this case, I adored Lucy’s father, Captain Craddock-Hayes , her “man”, Hedge, the housekeeper, Mrs. Brodie, and Christopher Fletcher, Simon’s best friend. Here we have all of these people and they weren’t just there as filler! Their personalities shined through and if any one of them had their own story, I’d be reading it! The conversations, or shall I say, banters, were well written, easy to follow and made me laugh more than once! I loved the relationship between Lucy and her father, and cheered him on when, towards the end of the book, he revealed a rather personal, painful experience in order to help Lucy work her way through her own uncertain emotions. Despite his gruff attitude throughout the book, his love for her was always apparent. And dear Rosalind’s story broke my heart, but we weren’t left wondering what was to become of her… we were given a small glimpse into what the future held for her and Pocket.

Something I want to point out and that I found very fascinating was the insight we’re given into exactly what went into “calling someone out.” I was fascinated to watch as Simon hunted his enemies, and then manipulated them into actions that would allow him to challenge them to a duel and legally kill them. I know it sounds horrid, but it’s a part of history and something we frequently hear about in historical romance novels, but not with this level of detail. And then the actual duels themselves? Painful, bloody and deadly! I didn’t actually love the gore, but I appreciated the mood that was set, feeling the angst, the horror these men felt as they realized they would die… this was a horrible business, death… so I was … happy? to see it depicted with the seriousness this deserved.

For the trilogy as a whole, I’m having a tough time choosing my favorite book. I think it’s a tie between the Raven Prince and the Serpent Prince, because both stories were emotionally compelling and I adored the hero and heroine in both of those, while George bothered me with a completely out of character moment in the Leopard Prince. Choosing a hero, however, is impossible because the 3 men had such completely different personalities but were all truly amazing men.

So, as this trilogy comes to an end, I must say that I’m so very happy to have finally read these stories by Elizabeth Hoyt, and look forward to reading much more from her in the future.
Profile Image for Ursula.
586 reviews139 followers
May 22, 2018
Am I really so shallow? Am I really lusting after this hero? Tortured, revenge-obsessed and over-sexed as he is? Yup. I am.

Firstly: don't judge me! I read this one some years ago and never reviewed it, so not only did I just read it again, I listened to it after that, with the fabulous Moira Quirk narrating. (Whew- pretty hot for a trad HR.)
There is something about the hero, Simon, that just appeals to me. He is a ridiculous mix of affectation, with his dandy's love of flamboyant architecture, furnishings and clothes (red-heeled pumps- yeah, I know, but it's Georgian England. Deal with it. Remember EH’s Val in Duke of Sin? He was a whole lot worse, but we loved him anyway), brutal violence and deep, passionate love for the heroine, Lucy. What's not to love? I don’t like revenge tropes as a rule, and in many ways, Simon is not much more than a Even his love for Lucy can’t stop him. It was a worry.

I think it was refreshing, however, to have a hero who knew his flaws (and they were serious flaws) but gave in to his selfish desire for the heroine, taking her for his wife because he simply could not be without her. I mean, the dude is on his knees before her. Sigh. The noble, self-sacrificing hero who pushes the heroine away and gives her up because he is no good for her really gets on my nerves. Why make both of you miserable?? If the woman says: yes, you have problems, but I want you anyway and we can work on it together, then why deny her?

And frankly, after bingeing on NA and CR the last few weeks, with many of them actually really horrible, smutty books full of potty-mouthed, slutty MCs, the purity of Simon's desire and Lucy's love was sweet relief. Is it realistic? Maybe not. But this is Romancelandia, and damn it, sometimes I don't want realistic. I want blood and sweat and sex and passion- even revenge - and fidelity and love.

An escape from reality and hope for redemption.

Lucy and Simon are so different, you wonder how it could ever work. But that is why it does.

So, here's to my shallow need for smexy heroes, heroes who cry, and a love that conquers all.

I know he is no longer with us, but...

Profile Image for Erika.
113 reviews206 followers
May 4, 2012
Review of The Princes Trilogy series.

I'm happy I had this series as my first read by Elizabeth Hoyt. Her writing is captivating, her stories are intriguing, and The Princes Trilogy is an outstanding romance series.

Source: Disney Fairytale Photographs by Annie Leibovitz

Inspired by Greek myth of Psyche and Eros and The Princess Golden-Hair and the Great Black Raven by Howard Pyle, The Raven Prince brings us a brave widow with controversial actions and a very lonely aristocrat with scarred face.

This first book introduced me to the author's vivid writing. Edward and Anna enchanted me with their romance. They made me laughed with their banter. Though, there were times when I wanted to slap Anna. The romance was so passionate, it was burning me from the start until the very last page. I almost faint because of overheated. Almost.

Another Howard Pyle's fairy tale The Water of Life inspired The Leopard Prince. It brings us a forbidden romance between strong-willed lady and a charismatic commoner with his insecurity.

Harry and George were lovely. I liked them as much as I liked Edward and Anna. Harry was the one that hooked me. He is his lady servant but like what George feels, I felt his power and his charm. He said the right words at the right time. The romance was intense, hot and sweet altogether. The ending was hilarious and made me so happy. And thanks to Harry, the words My Lady couldn't be more sensual.

Brothers Grimm's fairy tale The Goose-Girl was the inspiration to The Serpent Prince. It brings us a smart country lady and a dashing aristocrat with a damage soul.

I'm the minority. The Serpent Prince is my favorite book of the series. I wasn't just in love with it, I love it. I felt there was something that made it different with other books in the series.
He would’ve thought it a terrible dream, one of an endless succession that haunted him nightly—or worse, that he’d not survived the beating and had made that final infinite plunge out of this world and into the flaming next. But he was almost certain hell did not smell of lavender and starch, did not feel like worn linen and down pillows, did not sound with the chirping of sparrows and the rustle of gauze curtains.
And, of course, there were no angels in hell.
Simon watched her. His angel was all in gray, as befit a religious woman. She wrote in a great book, eyes intent, level black brows knit. Her dark hair was pulled straight back from a high forehead and gathered in a knot at the nape of her neck. Her lips pursed slightly as her hand moved across the page. Probably noting his sins.

The writing truly drew me in. The moment I got my self into the book, Lucy wasn't the only one that was mesmerized under Simon's spell. Simon was special. He was a character through and through. And Lucy, she may be a naive country maiden but she wasn't stupid. The romance wasn't explicitly painted, but it was beautifully crafted. I was lost in the book. A good kind of lost. And every time he refers to her as his angel... just lovely.
“Why angel?” she asked. “I’m not particularly angelic.”
“Ah, there you are wrong. Your eyebrows are most stern, your mouth curved like a Renaissance saint. Your eyes are wondrous to look upon. And your mind . . .” He stood and ventured a step toward her, until they almost touched, and she had to turn her pale face up to his.
“My mind?”
He thought he felt the warm puff of her breath. “Your mind is an iron bell that rings beautiful, terrible, and true.” His voice was husky, even to his own ears, and he knew he’d revealed too much.

Unlike Cinderella and her charming prince, Simon and Lucy happily ever after didn't come soon enough. There are dark secrets to be revealed, sins to be admitted, lost soul to be redeemed, and love to hold on. It had my tears. One day when I'm married and I'm having my hard times, I will remember to read their story again.

When I thought I couldn't get more engaging romance from the series, Coral and Isaac amazed me with their sizzling and touching love story in The Ice Princess. A romance novella couldn't get any better.

For all the reasons above, I highly recommend this series to the romance readers.

“She believed in dreams, all right, but she also believed in doing something about them. When Prince Charming didn't come along, she went over to the palace and got him.”
Walt Disney

Note: Big thanks to my dearest friends who introduced me to the talented romance author.
- Rizka, for the recommendation of The Raven Prince.
- Rane, for giving me The Princes Trilogy challenge. I adored the series! ;)

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Profile Image for Elena .
53 reviews222 followers
December 30, 2021
Ugh. This book. The first half of The Serpent Prince is my favorite of Elizabeth Hoyt's Princes Trilogy and possibly one of the most enjoyable romance I've read this year; the second half is a mess and, most importantly, its heroine is AWOL.

Not that Lucy is actually absent from the scene, mind you. Hoyt needs her for the steamy scenes, after all (although she could have easily replaced her with an inflatable sex doll and nobody would have noticed, least of all Simon): it's just that the smart, interesting woman we meet at the beginning of the book - the "country mouse" who could banter with a worldly rake and stand her own - is *poof!* gone: we're left with a winy little thing whose thought process is that of a 10 years old child instead. Not cool, Hoyt. Not cool at all.

Simon is hell-bent on getting revenge for his brother's death and is chasing down the people responsible for it, challenging to duel the murderers one at a time; in his spare time, he also gets married to Lucy, who at some point realizes her hubby has taken the habit of leaving their bed in the middle of the night, only to show up again in the morning reeking of cigarette smoke and booze. Does she confront him about it? Why, no. She stalks him instead, and so finds out the truth: Simon isn't spending his nights in a brothel (*phew!*), is dueling! Is Lucy pissed off at Simon - who's clearly going down a path of self-destruction - for risking his life with each duel not a few days after their marriage? Nope. Is she outraged by the fact that her husband is killing a bunch of people, then? Again - nope, not particularly. But she's a little taken aback because, you know, killing is a sin and all, so she leaves him for like, 20 minutes. What is the point of this whole plot, then, you might ask? Heh, don't look at me - I have no idea. It works pretty well on Simon's side, though: when Hoyt switches POV and we get to read his side of the story, The Serpent Prince is a truly compelling and heartbreaking read. But once we get back to Lucy's, I could only think to shout at her face *Do you understand anything of what is going on around you, you moron?!* (which I might or might not have chanted in my head every time she was around. And the answer, obviously, is no, she doesn't: since apparently she left her brain in Kent, along with her personality.)

Also, this being the final book of the trilogy and all, I can finally ask - why, oh why!, do you have your female characters storm off like drama queens all the time, Mrs. Hoyt? Are you perhaps suggesting that the only response a woman can muster when things get a little tough is tuck tail and run (while wishing to be chased down by her beloved, of course)? And you do realize, don't you, that when you use the very same plot device three times in a row (well, four, counting The Ice Princess, Hoyt's novella about Coral/Aphrodite from book #1. Yes, she runs off, too) the only thing you can hope to get from your readers is an eye-roll?

So, well: The Serpent Prince was a miss for me (an especially aggravating one since I adore Simon and Lucy could have been a great character, too) but Hoyt proves again that she can basically sell me anything and I'd still have a hard time putting down her book. I already whish-listed all her other series so the joke's clearly on me. Ha ha.
Profile Image for Sam (AMNReader).
1,262 reviews276 followers
October 10, 2021
An intense, desperate hero does it for me every time. I guess I really had missed Hoyt's writing because this very much hit the spot, and once I got to 20% I did not put it down.
Profile Image for Julianna.
Author 5 books1,323 followers
December 3, 2009
Reviewed for THC Reviews
The Serpent Prince was a fabulous wrap-up to an already wonderful series. It carried a lot of weight and depth that kept my mind engaged throughout. The story is a study in contrasts with a very potent mixture of light and dark, innocence and eroticism. Lucy is the lightness and sweetness to Simon's darkness and pain. Simon hasn't known anyone as virtuous and kind as Lucy since the death of his brother, and he subconsciously senses that his “angel” can bring the light of her goodness and decency into the black abyss of his soul to save him. It is also about the redemption of a man who was so consumed by the pain of the past and a thirst for vengeance that he felt he was beyond saving, and a gentle reminder of what it truly means to be patient and forgiving in the face of wrongdoing. The Serpent Prince is also a lovely story of two people discovering their true selves and in doing so, finding the one person who is perfect for them, that they can trust completely and to whom they can reveal that true self, warts and all. Overall, this was a beautifully written book that, in my opinion, went beyond mere romance into the realm of what it truly means to love someone unconditionally with all your heart and soul.

In The Raven Prince, I fell in love with Edward's intelligence, earthiness and even his temperamental nature. In The Leopard Prince, I fell for Harry's calm, quiet, everyman persona. In both of their books, Simon is portrayed as a dandified peacock, and I have to admit some skepticism on whether I would like him as a hero. Now after reading his book, I can honestly say that in spite of his perfectly powdered wig, exquisitely embroidered waistcoats and gaudy red-heeled pumps, this dandy is one of the sexiest heroes I've had the pleasure of reading. I don't think I'll ever judge a book by its cover again.;-) Simon is an utterly charming rogue who seems to hide who he really is behind all the pomp and circumstance of his outer facade. He also has a tendency to babble a whole lot of nonsense for the same reason. Yet, Simon is thoroughly quick-witted and poetic but can be oh-so-naughty with words, skillfully weaving double entendres into his conversations and bantering like a pro. Underneath that devil-may-care facade though, lurks a deep, dark pain and a man who is utterly consumed by his plans for retribution against his brother's murderers. I thought that the author did an amazing job with conveying the toll that the revenge was taking on Simon, and how it was completely ravaging him, both physically and emotionally. In spite of the intensity of his anger toward those who wronged his family, Simon can still, at times, be a thoroughly vulnerable and broken man who has a heartbreaking need for Lucy's presence. It is like he is a drained and starving man who just soaks up her love and light and purity and wants to take it into himself to cleanse his bitter soul. Even though Simon deeply yearns for Lucy, there are times that he seems to be afraid of corrupting his perfect “angel” and is almost embarrassed by the intensity of his desire for her. For all his worldliness, occasionally he could even be brought to a blush by merely being around his lovely wife. I thought this was absolutely adorable and an ingenious way for the author to convey the goodness in him. All in all, Simon is a larger-than-life character who really stole the show in this book.

Opposite an ostentatious and deeply wounded character like Simon, Lucy could have been a shrinking violet, but I thought she held her own pretty well. She is the plain country girl who stands out in stark contrast to the sophisticated ladies of the ton with whom Simon usually keeps company, but that is what makes her so perfect for him. Unlike Simon she has had a good life with fond memories of a gentle, loving mother, and although her father is a blustery former sea captain, it is obvious that he loves her dearly too. She draws on that background filled with affection to become a rock in Simon's life and keep him grounded through his trials. She is also an artist who can see beneath the surface disarmingly well which really frightens Simon but doesn't stop him from wanting to get closer to her. While Lucy's life has been nice, it has also been a bit dull, but she didn't realize how much so until Simon came into her life with his flamboyant charms and awakened her to what she had been missing. Lucy was always extremely generous toward the people in the village where she grew up, and she was equally unselfish with Simon right from the start, always willingly giving everything he needed without question. That's not to say that she is doormat though, because she does fight for what she believes is right and when Simon tried her patience one too many times with his unwillingness to change, she took drastic measures which become the wake-up call that he so desperately needed.

There were many things to like about The Serpent Prince, including what I consider some very swoon-worthy romantic moments. Early on, Simon and Lucy exchanged some sweet, innocent looks and touches that conveyed so much meaning. Then the timing of Simon's marriage proposal was actually a surprise to me. Even though it ended up being one of his flurry of words that never quite got to the point, I thought it was very romantic nonetheless. It is also rather rare these days for a couple in any romance genre to wait until their wedding night to consummate their relationship, but Simon and Lucy did just that. Except for one moment of weakness, Simon behaved like a perfect gentleman refusing to even touch or kiss Lucy for fear of giving into temptation and despoiling his bride before the wedding. I thought this was really sweet because it showed that the anticipation of the act can build much better sexual tension that giving into lust in the heat of the moment. As I mentioned earlier, Simon seemed afraid of corrupting Lucy and this was quite evident in the sexual realm. Even after they were married, he sometimes played coy with her, but she was always completely responsive to his sexual overtures. This is where that combination of innocence and eroticism came in, creating a very beguiling and heady brew. The love scenes are an area in which Elizabeth Hoyt really excels in her writing. All of them, including a scene where Simon verbally relates his fantasies to Lucy, were thoroughly sensual and erotic without ever truly crossing that boundary.

I also liked the inclusion of another fairy tale with the twist being that the hero got to tell it this time. Unlike the tales in the last two books, it was quite dark and dreary, but ended up suiting Simon and his personality perfectly. In fact, I thought that the overall darkness in tone gave the book a slightly Gothic flair. As to things I didn't like, there was virtually nothing. I might have liked to see the author explore Simon's childhood a bit more, but what was there explained his behavior quite a bit. The ending was perhaps a tad rushed. It might have been nice to draw it out a little longer or have an epilogue, but it was fine the way it was too. I thought that having it end on Christmas day was actually a nice touch. What better time of year for forgiveness and new beginnings? Overall, The Serpent Prince was a fabulous ending to the Princes Trilogy, that has earned its spot on my keeper shelf right next to its predecessors The Raven Prince and The Leopard Prince. I've noticed that Ms. Hoyt has been working on a short story sequel, The Ice Princess, which she has been adding a chapter at a time to her website and is free to her readers. Not being one who likes to torture myself, I will probably wait until it is complete before reading it, but I look forward to checking it out along with Ms. Hoyt's other works.
Profile Image for Princess under cover.
571 reviews244 followers
June 17, 2018
On the 3rd or 4th read of this book, I downgraded it to 4 stars, maybe 4.25. It used to be my fav (because I always enjoy a witty cad with a bleeding heart), but I think I like the Leopard Prince the best this time around.

Still, this book is a great read, and here's what I liked about it:

For once the hero waits (I think on purpose the author makes this happen) for a proper marriage before deflowering the heroine. So many of these stories regardless of historical context have the H and h anticipate their vows and do the nasty, and while I appreciate the irresistible passion of it all, I like that this story is different, that the H actually quite honorably asks for the h to marry him first and wait until after the wedding, tho he has many opportunities to take advantage.

I always like a strong heroine, and this story is no exception. Lucy of the formidable brows. She has just the seriousness and depth of character and conviction the Hero needs to find light and hope again.

What I felt like was a bit too contrived even tho I enjoyed it:

The weaving in of the fairy tale. I love fairy tales. It's one of the reasons I picked up this particular series in the first place. But I thought that both in the Leopard Prince and here, the weaving in of the fairy tale was a bit too contrived. As if the H and h have nothing else they could possibly talk about and connect on. I wanted more depth of emotion and some mundane connection, more subtle, more ordinary, but it's always the little things that really show love. Here, I felt like the author ran out of those conversational and emotional connective nuggets and used the fairy tale to fill in the gaps.

But in the end, still a very enjoyable read, which is why Elizabeth Hoyt is still one of my fav historical romance authors.
Profile Image for Jultri.
1,078 reviews6 followers
October 21, 2021
Red-heeled wearing hero with a penchant for fancy brocades and a mean swordhand, which he puts to frequent and deadly use to the detriment of the rest of his battered body. A pity that the romance between our hero viscount and his country miss takes second place to his single-minded quest to avenge his brother’s death.

At the start of the book, Lucy finds Simon sans clothing and almost sans life on a country lane, the victim of a vicious and willful attack. As he recovers over the ensuing days, they inevitably fall in lust and then I guess in love, although I didn't really feel the love. He leaves a week later, barely recovered from his near-death experience, determined to continue his collection of body counts as part of his systematic vengeance on those responsible for the killing of his brother as well as the attack designed to end his life. He returns soon after, however, realising she’s the one.


Blood shed. Another day, another duel, another death followed by blood-smeared make-out session – dead guy’s blood.


More blood shed. Another day, another duel, another death. More blood-smeared sex – his blood this time.

Then Lucy’s life is threatened immediately leading to more blood-smeared sex – her blood this time. I’m starting to get that blood is like an aphrodisiac for them.

The bodies pile up but Simon’s thirst for revenge is insatiable even at the expense of his loved-up life with Lucy. He tries to compensate by willing her his assets in his farewell notes:


She tries to appeal to him to cease his killing spree, but he is undeterred from his set course, even though each duel takes a toll out of him, body and soul, and he likely never will fully heal from the damage wrought to him by his own obsessive pursuit.


Lucy be like:
…very, very frightening me...

She tries to give him the ultimatum: Choose LOVE or HATE. He makes his choice.




Lucy and Simon:

Will not let you go let me go
Never let you go let me go
Never let me go
No, no, no, no, no, no, no


In the end, she realises that she can’t love him and leave him to die, while Simon reaches his epiphany, that nothing really matters, nothing really matters more to him than Lucy, and that even his vengeance can be laid to rest.

Issues for me were: love and marriage 1/3 of the way in, which left the rest of the plot to revolve around the various duels interspersed by the bloody sex. Maybe it's the clean freak medico in me, but making-out covered in someone else's blood is a HELL NO for me. The book really was all about Simon, and there was not much for Lucy to do but to make herself available to him, whenever he needed some post-violence sex, which as it turned out was quite frequently. The narrator was okay, but a bit too sweet sounding for Simon's voice.

As for my Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen) inspiration, it must be due to Simon's red heels, which I think Freddie Mercury wholeheartedly would have approved of.

Profile Image for Baba  .
859 reviews3,837 followers
April 19, 2012
"Why do you think that you're irredeemable? All men can find grace if they repent of their sins."
"So speaketh the angel of the Lord." (...) "But what if I am a devil from hell itself and not of your world at all, angel?"

3.5 stars.

The dead man at Lucinda Craddock-Hayes's feet looked like a fallen god, and our heroine was pretty surprised to discover that the mysterious man was not dead at all. Lucy is nursing Simon Matthew Raphael Iddesleigh, sixth Viscount Iddesleigh, back to health.

Simon is a master swordsman. The blood is not all over the story, however, it's a fact that there are dead bodies. Sometimes it got quite ugly since Simon is fighting against them to exact his deadly revenge. Here comes my main issue. Simone lives and breathes one word: revenge. Death had taken him into the company of the damned, and his bond with the rest of humanity was broken.

On the one hand, he was a loving uncle, a man who tended roses all by himself in a glass cathedral (so, so sweet!). But on the other hand, he was extremely bitter and full of hate and cravings for revenge because a few men killed his brother, Ethan. Simon's personality is very dark and I had a hard time to like him. I certainly didn't love him. I get it that at that time there weren't any psychologists available. Unfortunately. I think Simon was in dire need of some serious counseling. Lucy tried her best to soothe and heal his mind, although it was a very difficult task and Simon proved to be almost inaccessible. Simon reminded Lucy of a great silver snake. Sort of shiny and rather dangerous. She thought it's his eyes--remembering how Simon would smile with his eyes over his glass at her.

Simon opened a door into a whole new world Lucy never even knew existed because she was a simple country woman:

"Like being blind from birth and then one day suddenly being able to see. And not just see, but to witness the sun rising in all her glory across an azure sky. The dusky lavenders and blues lightening to pinks and reds, spreading across the horizon until the entire Earth is lit. Until one has to blink and fall to one's knees in awe at the light."


As always I truly enjoyed the great dialogues, the author's writing in general, and the story provided some interesting and well-fleshed out characters, too. I especially enjoyed to see Edward de Raaf and Harry Pye again. Love these guys! Simon's angel used to wear grey--like a grey mouse. With that said, Lucy turned out to be a very sensual and passionate woman. The love scenes are wonderfully written and very sensual. I couldn't have expected anything less from this author. Further, I loved the way Simon called Lucy angel. The Serpent Prince is my least favorite of the Princes Trilogy.

"I bid you open."

Simon, I bid you to let go of your hate and bitterness. Ultimately, Simon lost his taste for blood. Lucy swept into his life and redeemed him, ransomed his very soul from the devil.

On a personal note
Well, Simon, I have to tell you that you should get rid of your red-heeled shoes. Seriously? That's a no-go.

I have to be honest here. I love to read a lush HR. However, I have a hard time to become accustomed to white wigs and powdered hair/wigs. Not. My. Cuppa. *shudders* Don't get me wrong. The wigs did not influence my rating, though!
Profile Image for Karen.
805 reviews1,012 followers
February 2, 2018

"I am the duke of nonsense," he whispered in her ear. "The king of farce, emperor of emptiness."
Did he really see himself so? "But - "
"Blathering is what I do best," he said, still unseen. "I'd like to blather about your golden eyes and ruby lips."
"Simon -"
"The perfect curve of your cheek."

Blather indeed! What a fabulous character you are Simon.

WOW! What a great book and series this was. Each book just as good or better than the last. I would have loved an epilogue with this one, but I guess you can't have everything.
Profile Image for Nabilah.
432 reviews116 followers
November 12, 2022
After the disappointment of The Leopard Prince, this one literally took my breath away! One of Ms. Hoyt best work, IMO.

The story managed to grab my attention from the 1st page. You have 2 very likable MCs, Lucy and Simon. Simon was a tortured hero, hell bent on killing the men responsible for his brother's death, Ethan. He was a dandy too, so that's pretty refreshing. He was almost beaten to death by the same men and was dumped in Lucy's village. Lucy found him and took him home to nurse him. Simon saw Lucy as his saviour and called her his 'angel' which I found to be very sweet.

It's nice to see a hero who pines after the heroine. Simon realised his love for Lucy earlier than Lucy as well. Too oft you see it's the heroine who pines after the hero.

The thing I love most about this book is the relationship between Lucy and Simon. Simon kept his killings from Lucy and once Lucy found out and begged him to stop and he wouldn't, she left him to return to her village. One of the most profound moments was when Lucy spoke to her father about Simon's deeds and the father told her that she was putting 'ideals' to Simon. I think we as humans tend to do that as well, especially to our loved ones. We do that to our parents, to our spouses and etc. They are human and they're going to crap out once in a while (you're going to do it too!) and we have to decide is the relationship worth salvaging and how we're going to do it moving forward.

The characters were well fleshed out and I felt very connected to the MCs. I felt their emotions. The anguish that Simon faced between continuing his request for vengeance and his love for Lucy and for Lucy, can she continue loving such a man?

I think this one is even better than The Raven Prince and for those who are interested in this series, read book 1 and 3 and skip the 2nd one. I can see myself reading this book again and again in the future. The only thing I'm not happy with is the lack of an epilogue. I thought it ended a bit too abruptly and an epilogue would have given a sense of completion. But hey, you can't have everything you want in life so, there's that.
Profile Image for Sophia Triad.
2,239 reviews3,458 followers
February 7, 2020
Lucy lives a nice quite life with her father. Some people may even call it a dull life as she calmly waits to be proposed. Still she is not a doormat. She is sweet and innocent, but she only has experienced this kind of life....
.....until viscount Simon appears in her life half dead.

In the beginning she doesn't know who he is, but still she helps and nurtures him back to life. Simon is dark, unfriendly and scary. He does not hesitate to insult people who may look at him suspiciously but they still were very hospital towards him (Lucy's father).

Although Simon does not have the best character (hellbent on revenge and bitter to the core), he is still a gentleman (he will try to keep Lucy's virtue until their marriage).
And although Lucy is an innocent young woman, she still exploits her desires (the scene when she touches herself at the bathtub without knowing that Simon is looking at her).

I truly loved the story, but it wasn’t my favourite in the series. Harry Pye still holds my heart.

My favourite character in The Serpent Prince must be Lucy's father, a man of honour and capable of feeling deep love. I loved the story he tells about Lucy's mother.

Favourite quote:
“Stay with me. I love you. God, I love you, Lucy. I can’t—”
Her heart seemed to expand with his words. “I’m sorry. I—”
“I can’t live without you,” he was saying, his lips skimming her face. “I tried. There isn’t any light without you.”
“I won’t leave again.”
“I become a creature with a blackened soul—”
“I love you, Simon—”
“Without hope of redemption—”
“I love you.”
“You are my salvation.”
“I love you.”
Profile Image for Luana ☆.
508 reviews80 followers
March 21, 2022
The thing about a series is that the characters should interact, and yes, you see the three heroes meeting a couple of times in each book, but that's it. I found it extremely weird that the heroines never met. Not even in the weddings. So basically this whole series can be read as a stand-alone and you will miss absolutely nothing.

Now, i am not sure how to rate this book. Revenge plots are not my cup of tea and the revenge itself goes on until the last page. The hero was quite funny in an outrageous way. The heroine's father was a great figure, I liked almost all the characters, but I wasn't super impressed with this book. It was muuuch better than the second one, but the first book, the raven prince, is still my favorite.

I can keep talking about the plot but really, its just the hero looking for his revenge, getting hurt over and over again, not being able to let go, his darkness and his sensuality. And the heroine finding it all out...

I am very sad for the lost opportunity of an epilogue with the heroes and heroines from the three books all together celebrating Christmas or something. But I am just always sad without an epilogue, so don't mind me. The end just didn't feel like an end, you know? And I was a bit annoyed with the heroine and didn't have enough time to get over my annoyance. Hehe.

Maybe I will change my rate when I wake up. But so far I think it was a 3 star? Maybe less?
Profile Image for ♥  Sam ♥.
348 reviews9 followers
January 10, 2011
I loved every minute of this novel. Miss Craddock-Hayes is just the sort of heroine I like; smart, compassionate, and attractive. Simon clearly adores Lucy, and always treated her as such. Maybe it was the fact that Lucy so obviously needed someone to shake up her life that made Simon so appealing. I wanted him to give Lucy what she needed.

And boy did he. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. The sensuality in this book was the most wonderful that I've ever read. This isn't the sort of romance that's heavy on the sex at the expense of believability and character development.

And, here comes a spoiler,

I would only ask that Ms. Hoyt keep writing historic romance for a good long time.
Profile Image for Vintage.
2,394 reviews444 followers
March 21, 2021
Second review:
The wannabe OM is named Eustace Penweeble which may be my new favorite fictional name ever. He’s a nice guy, but not for the heroine.

I was curious if I would feel the same on a re-read, and it was just as enjoyable as the first time. It’s not really a 5 star. I don’t think. Oh who cares, it’s spring, and it was fun both times. Hero is a keeper.

First review
O my goodness, I have not even finished the book, and I am compelled to write a review. Simon, in spite of his questionable red heels, is one of the best heroes EVER. Lucy, you sly waiting in the wings quiet mouse, you aren't too shabby yourself.

Simon is passionate, loving, principled, and totally besotted by Lucy. Really, you don't get much better with your heroes than this guy. No hesitation, no games, he is whole heartedly in love with his girl.

If you enjoy witty dialogue, charming characters that develop, nice plot, interesting secondary characters, well, what else is there?

Hard to believe that this is at 3.8 and Perfect Chemistry is over 4 in ratings.

If you like tortured heroes along the lines of Devil in Winter and Lord of Scoundrels, then add Simon to your list!
Profile Image for ♥Sharon♥.
961 reviews143 followers
February 22, 2018

What a fabulous trilogy this was. I enjoyed all the books but this one is my favorite. I adored Simon.

He was a funny blathering sweet talking horticultural master that tended to his roses with such delicacy. Similarly to the way he loved his angel Lucy. ❤

Simply a wonderful story. If you haven’t read these books you are missing out. I highly recommend them so get to it!!!!!! :)

Profile Image for kris.
937 reviews187 followers
February 7, 2017
Lucinda Craddock-Hayes finds the naked, stabbed Viscount Simon Iddesleigh in the road and decides to take him home. Upon awakening, music fills the air, boners fly, and nipples become aroused. Will Simon ever be able to put aside his terrible Vengeance Quest in order to fulfill his Romance Quest?

1. The insta-love is THICK in this one, folks. It's kind of disconcerting because Lucy literally has like 1.5 conversations with Simon and suddenly she can't think of anything or anyone else because he has Captivated her, MIND, BODY, AND SOUL. I honestly wanted someone to pull Lucy aside and tell her that first crushes are something but they are not the basis of True Love, especially when they come with overly snarky, secretive broody "Viscount"s attached.

2. Simon was also extremely frustrating: he careens from all-sarcasm to all-brood; he refuses to be serious with Lucy until she discovers that he's sneaking about to KILL PEOPLE and then it all goes downhill. He's abrasive and selfish and once Lucy girds her loins and leaves him (I do not consider this a spoiler because this is like Romance Novel 101 level shit here), he turns into an insomniac predator, one who destroys his conservatory and goes to meet his Ultimate Doom without a sigh.

And it's been said many times, many ways: Merry Christmas that shit ain't romantic. It's unhealthy and creepy.

3. Vengeance Plots. PFFFFFT

4. I ultimately did not enjoy this that much?? I'm kind of confused as to why since I read the whole thing and didn't even complain about it, but I'm wracking my poor feabile brains to try and figure out what I DID like and all I can come up with is "...UM" which is to say, HERE'S ANOTHER THING THAT ANNOYS ME:

5. After Lucy flees her rotten husband, she goes home to her father who tells her the story of how once upon a time, her mother took another lover. But he forgave her! Because he realized that he had put her on a pedestal and needed to love the woman, not the idea.


And so Lucy realizes that she does truly love ~the man and can forgive Simon his murderous, vengeance-seeking ways!!!!! So that's--whatever. EXCEPT--oh yes, EXCEPT: there is approximately zero examination of the fact that Simon completely and totally has Lucy up on a pedestal that reaches PAST THE MOON. He, in fact, consistently and routinely refers to her as "his Angel" and believes she can do no wrong. She is perfection in a woman's body. She is Too Cool for School.

And there's nothing saying otherwise in the entire goddamned book.
Profile Image for Missy.
650 reviews
January 27, 2022
This is my least favorite in the series. I listened to the audiobook once before and I couldn't finish it then, because the narrator's voice for the hero was too young and sometimes feminine. Granted, the narrator is female, but it was difficult at times to determine who was speaking, the hero or the heroine or a side character. This second time around, I persevered through to the end. I wanted to quit twice or thrice but kept going because I really wanted to finish this series. Good thing there are only three books. If the ebook was available at my library, I would have read instead of listening.

The couple definitely had an attraction towards each other but I didn't feel the chemistry and love between them. However, props to the hero for ! The love scenes wasn't as steamy as other Elizabeth Hoyt love scenes.

I don't know what to think about the whole "avenge my brother" agenda the hero obsessed over throughout the book. I was a little annoyed the heroine tried to talk him out of it. I know that's what any good person would do, but I don't know, it just came off as annoying.

I don't read too many Georgian HRs, so I think I learned something new from this book. The duels during this time are fought with swords whereas duels during the Regency (and Victorian, too?) had the options of swords or pistols at dawn. Of course, the fashion was different, too. Powdered hair and wigs. Yeah, I definitely prefer Regency HRs.

The book was also slow. When I reached the 33% mark, I thought I was at least halfway through the book but nope! Then when I reached the 70% mark, I thought I was at least 80% through with the book. That last hour (last 10%) of the book felt forever!

The title for each book in this series are actual stories of enchanted princes within the story. The story of "The Serpent Prince" was an underwhelming and nonromantic one compared to its predecessors. The story felt forced just so this book can match with the previous two book themes.

Well, I'm glad I finished the series. I probably won't pick up a book by Hoyt for a year or two.
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
February 6, 2018
4.5 stars

Simon, what a "blatherer" indeed!

You could waffle for hours, spouting shite about all things under the sun!!

She heard him close the door.
“I was going to impress you with my romantic eloquence, of course. I’d thought to wax philosophical about the beauty of your brow.”
Lucy blinked. “My brow?”
“Mmm. Have I told you that your brow intimidates me?” She felt his warmth at her back as he moved behind her, but he didn’t touch her. “It’s so smooth and white and broad, and ends with your straight, knowing eyebrows, like a statue of Athena pronouncing judgment. If the warrior goddess had a brow like yours, it is no wonder the ancients worshiped and feared her.”
“Blather,” she murmured.
“Blather, indeed. Blather is all I am, after all.”

I really enjoyed the first book. Second one was good too but I think this might be my favourite. I loved Lucy. She took no guff from Simon.

"I think you are the provincial one, to judge me without knowing me at all. Or rather, you think you know me, when in reality, you do not."

He was in the doorway, his gaze locked with hers- hot, hungry, and very, very male. Then he let his eyes drop and deliberately perused her.

Profile Image for Juliana Philippa.
1,010 reviews918 followers
May 16, 2022
Least favorite in the trilogy - Simon was wonderful, but their "love" came far too quickly (3.5 stars)

Definitely my least favorite of the three Prince books, which is also the most disappointing, because after the first one, The Raven Prince , I was soooo looking forward to Simon's story.

I loved Simon and I also liked Lucy, but I found their relationship hard to believe: why this instant connection that causes them within minutes to see deep within one another's souls?? For me, the foundation was just not there, so I could never make the leap and accept this seemingly profound love they had for one another.

Their pairing was actually a good one and I thought their need for one another made sense character-wise - his attraction to her innocence and lightness; her straightforward manner seeing through the mask he wears - but it would have had to have been more built up for me to actually be able to believe it and appreciate it. And I would have loved to believe it, because I really enjoyed the two main characters! I especially loved Simon's feeling of need for Lucy and that she was essential in his life, that she would make him a better person and make him finally happy (::sigh:: anyone?).

In the other Hoyt books I've read, one of her strengths each time has been the development of the hero and heroine's relationship from indifference, dislike, or some type of neutral feeling to true and believable love, affection, and understanding. In The Serpent Prince, that development was missing, making their relationship seem not as strong as Hoyt's others.

Bottom Line
It was still a good read and one I might get out from the library again in the future, but unlike the other two books in the trilogy, I will not be buying my own copy.

Princes Trilogy
Book 1 - The Raven Prince - Edward de Raaf, Earl of Swartingham (5 stars)
Book 2 - The Leopard Prince - Harry Pye (4.5 stars)
Book 3 - The Serpent Prince - Simon Matthew Raphael Iddesleigh, Viscount of Iddesleigh (3.5 stars)
Profile Image for Shin Mon Thway.
663 reviews1,481 followers
October 23, 2017
This is the last book Of Miss Hoyt’s princes series. And I must say that she cleverly manipulated me to read the whole series eagerly.

So this is about Simon, a viscount who is hellbent on avenging the death of his brother and Lucy, an innocent country lass. While Lucy seems innocent, the smut in this book was really delicious. I loved the scene when Simon accidentally opened the door when Lucy was taking a bath and touching herself. The romance and connection is quick and the wedding was even quicker. But that scene of deflowering Lucy, loved every part of it.

I don’t know how I feel about Simon. I don’t feel like he’s that dark and terrifying as miss Hoyt portrayed him to be. I just think he’s a poor soul who couldn’t make the peace with the world upon his brother’s death. Lucy character was cute and sweet. She’s definitely your gentle typical English lady.

Frankly, this is my least favorite book in the series. I did love the HEA though I think this one is a bit heavy on the emotional side. Definitely an enjoyable read.


Profile Image for Océano de libros.
747 reviews75 followers
May 28, 2022
Lucy Craddock-Hayes es una joven que vive tranquilamente en el campo... hasta que encuentra inconsciente y desnudo a un hombre. Se trata de Simon Iddesleigh, un joven cegado por la venganza y que la atrae inexorablemente.

Entre ellos surge la pasión, pero ni todo ese sentimiento puede alejar a Simon de su vendetta ni a Lucy apartarse de sus convicciones.

De esta trilogía el primero de los libros me gustó bastante, el segundo bajó mucho el listón y este último pienso que ha mejorado en algunos aspectos y lo dejaría en el segundo puesto.

El inicio de la novela me gustó bastante, nos presenta a Simon desnudo y apaleado en una cuneta y nuestra protagonista lo recoge para cuidarlo. A partir de aquí se van conociendo y entre ellos va surgiendo una especial complicidad.

Simon Iddesleigh, vizconde Iddesleigh es un hombre con una personalidad que engaña, parece que no le preocupa nada, algo singular con su vestuario, disfraza su dolor con ironía. Si hay algo que me gusta y que diferencia... https://oceanodelibros.blogspot.com/2...
Profile Image for Ruth.
592 reviews61 followers
October 3, 2010
Great hero - an acerbic wit, and bon ton fashion sense, hiding a much deeper, more tragic soul, with a confused, and confusing, sense of morals, driven by revenge.

The heroine is also more complex - not straightforward, but intelligent, used to dealing with relatively difficult men, such as her father, and yet with a very strong sense of herself, her place in the world and of what is right, although she's no model of perfection. The hero calls her an angel, but to me she's more of a goddess of divine retribution and forgiveness. More earthy, less moral than an angel.

I have really enjoyed this series. The heroes and heroines have been quite different than most, the writing is entertaining without being silly or flippant, and the theme of the three fairytales is lovely. I think the first is my favorite of the trilogy, but only just.
Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,241 reviews296 followers
September 16, 2019
Una dintre primele mele întâlniri cu aceasta autoare.
O poveste de dragoste fierbinte si sensibilă, care înduioșează cititorul.
Profile Image for Beanbag Love.
565 reviews246 followers
November 30, 2009
Had a hard time putting this one down. While it had a stronger beginning than finish, it was just barely. I loved the two characters throughout and, even though it was extremely angst-ridden, it was romantic and hopeful as well.

Lucy meets Simon when she finds him unconscious by the side of the road. Naked. Bloody. Dead (or so she thinks). She's such a kind heart, she intends to haul him away even as a 'deader' but when she finds he's actually alive she demands her servant help her get him into their coach so she can take him home to care for him.

Needless to say, her father is not pleased to have this naked man in his house. When Simon wakes up and sees her he declares her an angel and the two hit it off right away. Again, this does NOT please Lucy's father.

I won't say much more about the plot because there are a lot of things going on and I don't want to spoil anything. Simon is a shameless flirt with a very dark undercurrent. Lucy is a very pure, very sweet woman who has an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the status quo of her life. Simon awakens her spirit the way no one else ever has. They are really wonderful together.

I thought this was a very romantic book. There were stretches where I was frustrated, but it was as a reader getting into the difficult situation in the story more than as a reader cursing the author for doing something I couldn't believe. It was actually a rather emotional read.

Simon is a dandy, be prepared. But one of the things I love about the Georgian era is the "alpha in lace" aspect. Simon is deadly. He's all male. Right down to his red-heeled pumps. LOL. The fashions of the time did NOT take away from my enjoyment of his character.

There is some very explicit violence and gore. It's a necessary part of the plot, but it can be a bit upsetting. It's not quite at Outlander level, but it's pretty gross.

So, there you have it. I really liked this book. It's the best of the three "Prince" books as far as I'm concerned. My only complaint was the usual one. It needed an epilogue. Especially if it's the last of a trilogy. We needed to see the HEA beyond the ending of this story. And it would have been nice to bring all three couples together for a scene of their future. Just as a button on the whole series. But I won't take away a star for that. Maybe she'll put a little something on her website at some point. We can hope. :D
Profile Image for Lover of Romance.
2,850 reviews822 followers
March 28, 2013
Lucy, while taking a peaceful walk stumbles across a man she assumes is dead, but upon futher investigation finds that he is injured, and takes him back to her home to help heal him back to health. Simon, is bent on revenge, however Lucy startles his sensibilities to the point where he craves her very touch, and aches to hear the sound of her voice. He knows that his life is not what he would have for her, since everything in him vows to take revenge for his brothers death on those that killed him, but Lucy's love will be the one to save him as nothing else could...
The Serpent Prince is the third installment in the series. After reading the first book in the series, I loved it so much that I desperately couldn't wait to read the rest of the books in the series, and I just loved reading The Serpent Prince. From the very first page, I found myself captivated until the very last page, and even though I wasn't totally into the story, there was still a sense of mystery and romance that pulled me in. The characters were engaging, and their interaction with each other scrumptious. I also enjoyed how their was a sense of purpose in the characters and their interaction with each other was fascinating...although there were parts that I couldn't bring myself to like....the other much captivating parts made up for it. The sensuality between Lucy and Simon were intense and can at times leave a reader breathless in anticipation for more to come....Overall a Succulent and juice read that will warm you from head to toe....
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