After both of us spectacularly failing to read December’s book, we were both back on the horse last month with The Princess Trap, chosen, we have to admit, mostly because we’d both enjoyed Talia Hibbert’s books in the past, and were hoping for another great read with this one.
So, how did we feel about it? Read on!
The Princess Trap
Rep: bi mc, Jamaican-British wlw(?) mc
CWs: past & current child abuse (with graphic flashbacks), domestic abuse, racism
He’s reckless, dominant, and deliciously dirty. This prince is no fairytale.
Prince Ruben of Helgmøre is his family’s greatest scandal, but the defiant royal won’t change for anyone. He always takes what he wants, and his current obsession is Cherry Neita. The feisty beauty has no idea she’s being seduced by royalty—until they’re caught together in a compromising position. Oops.
All Cherry wanted was a night or two with the hottest man she’d ever seen. Turns out, that man is actually a prince, and now he needs her to play princess. Well, princess-to-be. The deal seems straightforward enough: one year as Ruben’s fake fiancée, and he’ll make all her problems disappear.
But the passion between Cherry and Ruben feels anything but fake, and their connection unearths devastating secrets. Can true love bloom from false beginnings? Or will this fairytale end in a happy-never-after?
Rating: 3/5 🌈
The interesting thing about being introduced to an author by reading their recent releases and then going back through their backlist is that you can really tell where they’ve improved their writing. And that’s somewhat the case here. That’s not to say this isn’t a good book in its own right; it just happens to be a less polished one.
But less of the negativity for a second because what I love best about Talia Hibbert’s books are her characters. Even when, at the start, I wasn’t completely sold on Ruben (more on that later), I loved the rest, and I definitely came to love Ruben too. And that’s the best part of this book, these characters and their relationships. It’s a good thing romance tends to be a very character driven genre because, really, not happened in the plot besides.
However, it also happened to use some of my least favourite romance tropes: possessive and dominating male character, and miscommunication. Possessiveness is perhaps self-explanatory (women don’t belong to you, men), but the dominating bit is less so. I think I don’t like this kind of trope – particularly ones where the man is the dom and the woman the sub, and calls him “sir” – because it falls too much into patriarchal expectations and whatnot (if that makes any sense). Like, women are assumed to be submissive anyway, so it makes me really uncomfortable when they are during sex scenes and moreso when those sex scenes involve the man spanking the woman and her calling him “sir”.
I didn’t mean to ramble on so much about that so, briefly, on miscommunication. It’s just a frustrating trope for me. Yes, it can be done well, but all too often it’s less “mis” communication and more “complete lack of it”. Which is so annoying when it’s an adult romance, because aren’t adults supposed to be better at this kind of thing? Also, I find it a lazy way of introducing angst.
It’s those two things that mean I’m not rating this book over 3 stars, but the book as a whole is definitely more evidence of how much I like Talia Hibbert.
Rating: 3/5 🌈
This book was an experience for me. First of all, I don’t read a lot of adult lit, let alone adult romance lit. So it took a little bit of getting used to, but I was having fun in the end. Another thing I realised is that this might have been the first book featuring (and focused on) a main m/f relationship that I have read in, well, years.
Apart from my own personal reading habits up until today, though, the book actually kind of just is a mixed bag. What I mean by that is: the two main characters are extremely well written, very real & amazing to connect with; the chemistry they share is undeniable; the side characters are properly fleshed-out as well & it’s all very nice. The first half of the book offers some surprises and the plot is interesting enough to grab anyone’s attention.
My problem is the second half, where most time is spend on sex scenes (I was told this is typical with adult romance lit & I should have expected that, which, fair enough!) and on weird drama. It’s weird because it all stems from an abuse plotline and frankly? I feel like this story could have been told without anyone getting abused, especially kids. It seems unnecessary. It would have been bad enough if it was only concerning the mc (which, again, a need for a tragic past to make an interesting character? Kind of passé), but it’s enveloping the whole family and the last quarter of the book or so is basically solely about that…
I’m not saying we don’t need stories with characters who have PTSD from being abused as kids, far from it. I am saying that I was expecting a light romance story & instead got all this weird, heavy drama that didn’t really bring anything to the table.
So yeah. I was thinking four stars when I was getting to the middle of the book, and yet here we are.
Did you read along with us? What did you think?