Title: The Pauper Prince
Author: Kelli A. Wilkins
Published in March 2008 by Amber Quill Press
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-224-8 (Electronic)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-943-8 (Paperback)
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
There was no changing King Maxwell’s mind, it was not to be. Their father was very angry and Allan realized this time he had possibly stepped over the line. When he allowed Elara to sneak along to Zarmatt, he knew better, but he was not using his best judgment. He never had when it came to Elara. It is true, he was not expecting the results, the consequences of her presence, but Allan of all people, should have known better. However, Elara’s own nature would not allow her to stay behind and that alone said he was not entirely to blame. If Elara had not been married to Dalton, things may have gone worse for her as well. In her condition, being newly pregnant, and being married to the man who was actually innocent in the mess her presence caused with Salizar of Zarmatt, Allan knew where he stood. It was a shock to learn it was Wesley, the Heir Apparent, who had suggested his punishment, and knowing how Wesley felt, Allan knew it boded no good for him. He has always disliked Wesley immensely, and he knows the feeling is mutual. For Wesley, pay ahead was always the procedure, even from behind his father’s back.
Allan always questioned Wesley’s parentage, even to Wesley’s face because of his lack of resemblance to their father, and this only heightened the animosity between the two. Therefore, Allan was not surprised to find himself dropped in the middle of nowhere, with next to nothing to call his own. As things were want to do when one is inexperienced, Allan had no job skills to fall back on, so he was forced to take some menial work at the docks. He did find a friend in Alex Dumont, and although of a different persuasion, Allan and Alex become very good friends. He also meets and woos Claudette, a young woman working in a dress shop as a laundress, and through their relationships, he learns about the injustices on the downside of life. He swears to both he will work to make things better, and although Alex believes him, Claudette has her reservations. She is a puzzle to Allan, one that he must solve, and he is not sure what he will find when the picture is made whole.
Claudette knows the seamy side of life. She was betrayed, when she was barely out of her childhood, by promises and sweet words, then left to make it on her own. She is attracted to Allan, his charm, his good looks, his manners that seem so very different form those around her. She swears she will not be taken in, but she finds herself in the position where she truly likes this man. When she realizes the depths of Allan’s feelings for his friend Alex, and when Allen finds him murdered, she is truly lost. She realizes he is a man who is sensitive in the way many others aren’t, but she is still wary. She was discarded by a rich boy once before with deadly consequences, and she is not ready to trust Allan yet. She is not about to go down that particular road again, and definitely not with a man she has known for only a few short months.
After the tragic death of his friend Alex, Claudette allows Allan to move in with her, and things get a bit strained. There is a whole series of events, culminating in a proposal, and Claudette finally accepting Allan the way he is and for who she thinks he is. She has no trust in men in general, but Allan has found a way underneath her guard. She sees the man as he really is, and can’t believe that her luck is so good this time around. She suspects he is keeping secrets from her, such as the possibility that he and Alex were lovers, but she doesn’t let that bother her. Claudette really believes he is poor, believes he truly loves her, and he won’t leave her, and for once in her life, she is truly happy. Secretly she is making plans, and is surprised to find Allan has been thinking along the same lines. With her heart in hand, she allows herself to be swept away in the delights and delusions of love only to have her world come crashing down around her, or did it?
Kelli A. Wilkins finishes her trilogy of books, which started with A Most Unusual Princess, and Dalton’s Temptation, with a bang. The story of Allan and his banishment from his father’s house is a tale of hardship and discomfort for the young man. His foolish behaviour leads him to an adventure greater than any he has experienced in his pampered and sheltered life. The real downside is this punishment is probably one adventure he could really have done without. For the first time, Allan has to face reality outside the palace, fend for himself, learn how the common folk live, and it is an experience he badly needs to take to heart. The spoiled playboy prince soon discovers the raw side of life, comes face to face with murder and death. Yet his loyalty to his kingdom doesn’t prevent him from staying in contact with his sister and her husband, and trying to ferret out the mystery of the ships he has uncovered while working as a menial labourer at the docks. In this time, only Claudette, a shop girl he meets becomes his only safe haven. He owes everything to Claudette, for she truly understands, especially after his loss of his roommate and only friend, Alex.
In The Pauper Prince, Kelli shows a side to Allan we would never expect to see. He grows up literally right before our eyes. Even though he learns some really hard life lessons, is forced to attend the “school of hard knocks” on the docks, and experiences his first true loss, he maintains his demeanor, his outward easy-going air. Underneath, Allan comes to realize he has not been aware of how the common people suffered under lacksidasical governors and officials who turn their back on their duties to King and Kingdom, and he is determined to bring about change. Claudette sees him as a “pie in the sky” optimist, thinking he is just shoving big and unrealistic plans in a deep dark hole. Neither wants to admit to futility, but Allan knows one thing, he does love Claudette, and he is prepared to sacrifice all for her. Now if only she will believe in him as well. The Pauper Prince, is a riveting tale, and it is a must read for anyone who enjoys fantasy Romance. It is stuffed full of action, love, excitement, sedition, and scurvy characters that are set to make our prince’s life miserable in the extreme if he lets them. Skillful crafting allows the reader to slip under the spell of Allan and live his every ache, pain, and triumph. The Pauper Prince, available now from Amber Quill Press is a real must read, and in case you haven’t read the others, I would suggest you get A Most Unusual Princess and Dalton’s Temptation, too. Kelli has definitely written a trio of must buys for Amber Quill!!!
Yours in good reading,
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