Monday, July 2, 2018

Book Review: 'Behind Palace Doors' by Jules Bennett


The swift and sassy opening introduces Victoria Dane and the charming Prince Stefan Alexander – friends, we are told, although the sexual tension is obvious from the first phrase. She’s there on his home turf (Greece) to do a job, but somehow, she ends up agreeing to do a favor. Perhaps ‘favor’ is too mild a word – as she marries him! Yet, it’s all business – or is it?
The mutual attraction practically ripples through the pages. We readers know what we want to happen- but there it is: the Prince is a wealthy playboy and their marriage is in name only. Their friendship is important to both of them, and that, perhaps, is what makes ‘Tori’ stand out from his other female interests. Certainly, Bennett more than establishes their mutual attraction. What is perhaps more impressive is that Bennett manages to make both of them such likable people, even with faults. Their conversations, interests and decisions are believable, and they are easy to identify with – even with the Greek Isles as backdrop. Simply said – they are ‘real’ people, wealth and home aside.
The courtship seems so terribly genuine, although both have reservations for the long term. Fortunately they have few physical reservations – the sexual side of things give neither much pause. However, their very real feelings also tumble into a clutter of worry about what the other expects, about the future, and about what the world expects.
Wonderful parallels occur within the story: “Dance with me” he tells her. “We should practice before the official royal wedding dance…” So he gets her to dance with him, but without telling her, just that he honestly wanted to dance with her. He gives her a plausible reason … and so much that happens between has a ‘good reason’ even though its something they also both want!
Well written and lively, this suffers a tad from predictability: still, an engaging read and very much a product that delivers what it promises.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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