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The Third Son (Kings of Cardenas #1)

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  727 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
Prince Damien, the spoiled youngest son of the king of Cardenas, finds that his world will never quite be the same again when a fiery Gypsy girl, Esmeralda, comes dancing into his privileged life.

Rake. Rogue. Scoundrel. Each of these words has been used to describe Damien Largess, youngest prince of Cardenas, most frequently by his ridiculously somber eldest brother. Damie
Kindle Edition, 360 pages
Published September 23rd 2011
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Community Reviews

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Lady Raven RAVE! for readers

Brief Summary
Prince Damien was the youngest son of the King of Cardenas. Damien spends his evenings drinking, gambling and seducing women, as his older brother points out often. He then meets Esmeralda, the dancing gypsy girl and things will never be the same. Esmeralda can't resist Damien and they begin a fantasy courtship neither has ever felt before. But a killer is out to destroy the royal family and Damien will have to make life changing decis

This review can also be found on my blog.

First, let me begin by saying that this author has balls! Big, brass balls. The Third Son was Elise Marion’s debut novel, and it took a lot of guts to write a tale with so many twists and turns and angst ad absurdum. It’s a wonder she isn’t tacked to the wall with pitchforks. That being said, this book was pretty amazing, in my opinion. I was expecting a fluffy, historical read set in a made up country with a made up Kingdom and made up gorgeous princes a
May 24, 2014 Erin rated it did not like it
Can't believe this book is rated so highly here on goodreads. I got it free on Amazon and thought I would give it a try. The plot was...ridiculous. Spoilers ahead. Okay, I know that generally you have to suspend some belief for romance novels but really...a prince and a poor gypsy girl getting married and the only one who doesn't accept the marriage is the evil mom? And how about we talk about the conniving ex-mistress who successfully fakes a pregnancy for months so that she can take the throne ...more
Lisa Goodwin
Oct 19, 2011 Lisa Goodwin rated it it was amazing
I found this book through a kindle forum, and I purchased it, not really knowing what I was going to be reading. But from the moment I started, I couldn't put it down. I haven't really read very many historical romance novels, but if this is what they are like, I will be reading many many more, especially from Elise Marion!

There is romance, drama, sex, suspense, intrigue, a little more sex, mystery, and a little more sex.

From the beginning of this story, I was hooked and could not put it down. A
Deborah (LoveToReadRomance)
Feb 17, 2012 Deborah (LoveToReadRomance) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, reviewed
This was an awesome read for me, the more I got to know Damien (the hero) the more I fell in love with him, I was so jealous of Esmeralda but she deserved some happiness, without giving anything away just let me say her life had not been a bowl of cherries. This book has some very strong secondary characters that I can’t wait to read more about them in the rest of the series. I fell asleep reading on my kindle at 2 am and woke up two hours later and my first thought upon waking was trying to fig ...more
Sep 28, 2011 CK rated it it was amazing
"Prince Damien knows his eldest brother Lionus will be king, and next in line is Serge who will be general of Cardenas' military, and Damien is...the third son. He is royalty and lives a pa...mpered life; enjoying his life with no major responsibilities. He's labeled a playboy. He doesn't think marriage can make anybody happy and uses his parents marriage as an example. His world changes when he meets a beautiful gypsy girl at his birthday party. And let me tell you, they share some hot kisses! ...more
Reviewers for R.N.J
Jan 14, 2012 Reviewers for R.N.J rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical for readers

Davia's Review

Brief Summary
Prince Damien was the youngest son of the King of Cardenas. Damien spends his evenings drinking, gambling and seducing women, as his older brother points out often. He then meets Esmeralda, the dancing gypsy girl and things will never be the same. Esmeralda can't resist Damien and they begin a fantasy courtship neither has ever felt before. But a killer is out to destroy the royal family and Damien will have to make life c
I had the privilege of reading "The Third Son" by Elise Marion when she contacted me via email.
It was a different book that I wasn't used to reading. It took me away from Paranormal for awhile and I have to say...I really ENJOYED this book. I would've finished this book in a couple of days, but other obligations stepped of them being, me not getting enough sleep at night due to a rocking and rolling baby inside of me. Naps and going to bed early took me away from reading for awhile. =(
Nov 05, 2012 Ami rated it it was amazing
“The Third Son” is so well written and the writing flows so beautifully, it plays like a movie inside your head. This is not your average historical romance novel.

Prince Damien’s personality is shaped by his position in the royal family. As the third son, he doesn’t carry the same burden that his two older brothers do, and therefore he can be careless with his affections and even a little reckless. He loves tweaking the royal sense of decorum. But his self-indulgence masks a deeper insecurity -
Carly Fall
Jan 10, 2012 Carly Fall rated it it was amazing
First, let me say I have never read any historical romance or period romance, so this book was a new genre for me. It also took me a while to read. Not because it wasn’t good, but because it seems the only time I have time to read is while I’m cooking dinner. I burnt dinner two nights while reading this because I was so enthralled with the story and forgot about the food. When I got to the end of this book, I had a huge smile on my face, but I was also disappointed the story had ended.

I was surp
Alesha Escobar
Oct 18, 2012 Alesha Escobar rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
Romance and intrigue always spice up a story--and this one has definitely captured my interest.

Prince Damien is a drinker, a scoundrel, and doesn't care that it embarrasses his eldest brother (heir to the throne of Cardenas). There's not much he takes seriously, especially when it comes to love, because he never met a woman that would inspire it in him--that is, until he meets Esmeralda.

Their romance takes off, but is interrupted with scheming, outward restrictions, and a violent plot against th
I love finding authors that are not widely known... but I am also really picky in that a book has to be engaging and pull me into the story. I have way too may "to reads" on my list to waste any time.

This is one of those great book/author finds!

Even though this was a rare time when I was able to figure out who the culprit was (i am usually clueless)...the book was written so well that it didn't matter. I was so drawn into the story as I was reading the last 30% of book- I was constantly saying "
Kimberli Trenholm
Jan 24, 2014 Kimberli Trenholm rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
I REALLY enjoyed this book. From the beginning to the end I never to what to expect. I actually had to shut off my Nook for a minute and cry over some parts before getting back to it and finding out what happened next. I was so relieved when it all worked out in the end... and yet it left me with a teaser to NEED the next book.
Sally Hannoush
Apr 13, 2014 Sally Hannoush rated it it was amazing
I experienced many emotional ups and downs in this book. I became aware on how truly mad people can become with only one word uttered on a deathbed. Lies and betrayal take up every corner leaving things beyond desperate. The promise of true happiness urged me on with all the heartache endured.
Jun 06, 2012 Zoe rated it it was amazing
This is such a fantastic story, it has such a mix of things going on. I could not put this book down. I just loved it. You know when you have read something special when a book can make you smile or cry,this story did both in bucket loads .Off to start the second son.
Mar 29, 2013 Erica rated it it was amazing
its a wonderful story of "what's meant to be, will be" no matter the obstacles in the way, love will still prevail. the story is written vividly and beautifully that it really does seem like a movie being played in your head

Sandra Nachlinger
Mar 27, 2012 Sandra Nachlinger rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers of historical romance
I’ve just returned from an escape into Cardenas – a land of lords and ladies, gypsies and fortune tellers, costume balls and jousts. But passion and intrigue threaten the realm.

The third son in the book’s title is Damien, the royal family’s youngest child. Because he is not destined for the throne and has none of his older brothers’ responsibilities, Damien’s life has been filled with gambling, women, and drink. But when gypsy dancers entertain at a royal celebration, Damien is enchanted with o
Ruth Hill
Feb 16, 2012 Ruth Hill rated it really liked it
I was not sure what I thought of this book in the beginning. (It seems I begin many of my reviews that way!) It had all the classic elements of a romantic story--the royal rake with no responsibilities, the commoner Gypsy girl who was so beautiful and caring, the evil villain from within. And it basically followed the classic love story with a bit of intrigue thrown in. And lots of lovemaking!

I did not care much for Damien in the beginning, but I cannot say I cared much for any of the royal fami
Nikki McCarver
Feb 23, 2012 Nikki McCarver rated it really liked it
Damien was the third son. He was not defined with a role and saddled with endless responsibilities as were his two older brothers. He did as he pleased. Yes, he was the womanizing bad boy with the looks and charm, that his older brother constantly frowned upon because of his reckless behavior. He supposed that he really should try to clean up his act, but it was such fun irritating his oldest brother. Being the baby did come with many privileges, the best of which was the unlimited amount of fre ...more
A.R. Von
Dec 01, 2012 A.R. Von rated it really liked it
A very sweet, exciting, touching and sensual story that had me in love with a majority of its characters from the start, specifically Damien and Esmeralda and their journey towards true happiness. Their story is a roller-coaster of a ride in various ways that kept me holding my breath in anticipation many times over. The Third Son is a historical romance that all fans of the genre will be captivated by from start to finish.

Damien has a reputation as a rogue and much more, none of it being good.
On the outside, Esmeralda was everything one would expect from a sensuously dancing gypsy-girl. She was extremely beautiful and seductive, lithe and graceful, and even mysterious with her exotic, dark looks. On the inside, no one could possibly guess at the stark and vicious realities that life had dealt her thus far. On the inside, Esmeralda felt years beyond any of her peers. Only she knew the strength it took to carry on and continually fortify a mask of outward calm and confidence meeting ev ...more
Feb 27, 2014 Gaele rated it really liked it
Two Reviews! Audio followed by review of eBook

AudioBook Review Stars: Overall 4 Narration 5 Story 4

I had read this book back in 2012, and found so much to appreciate in the author’s writing, the premise and the twists taken as Damien finds his way to happiness and love. I love that Elise Marion started her royal tale with the third son: in royal families the third son is often the one who is left to his own devices without great expectation. Damien is no exception to this stereotype: content to
Feb 10, 2015 Shirleyf rated it it was amazing
Could.not put it down.

Love e d it. Story line solid. Had not idea it was Nicole until the slaughter. Awesome w writing. need too read 2nd son
Jan 03, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it
If this book is an example of how Elise Marion writes I love all her books even before reading. In fact I went and bought the rest of this current series for my reading list. The suspense was outstanding, leaving me wondering who the villain was until almost the end and as most people are neither all good or all bad several of the characters were either good or bad during different parts of the story. Editing needs a bit more work as she and he seem to be transposed in places and sometimes just ...more
Jun 12, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Talk about sitting on the edge of your seat! I was about to throw my Nook through the window (not literally because then what woukd I do?), but I was seriously starting to think this was not going to have the HEA I wanted. These two had to go through so much. Fate threw in some difficulties, but in the end, I think it made their love even stronger and taught them to neverbtake their love for granted.

Great read.
Jan 24, 2014 LadyCalico rated it liked it
I thought I was really going to like this book, and it started out great (other than naming a Gypsy Esmeralda, really!), then it got stinkier and stinkier. By the the second half the story just kept sliding deeper into the trite and stale. I wished that if the author got tired of writing and ran out of originality that she would have just drawn up an ending rather than drag it on and on into nonsense. Seriously, that fake pregnancy scam, think about it, no way that could possibly work and wouldn ...more
Jul 03, 2014 Megan rated it liked it
Originally posted at The Book Nympho

I’ve been having a bit of difficulty deciding how to write this review. Generally, when I write a book review I start with all of the books best qualities and then discuss what I saw as the problems. However, to understand my stance on this particular book I’m going to have to do the opposite.

The first and most glaring problem was that the author gives away the villains identity so easily in the very beginning of the story. Had there been no prologue I believe
Aug 29, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
An illegitimate son, a King who pawned him and his mother off on the King's brother, 3 legitimate sons and their ladies, mistress and mother make for an interesting mix of characters. Throw in a fake pregnancy, a real pregnancy and the Silver Masked Man who's trying to kill the King and you have a great mix for an intriquing read. A good book.
Mary Dulaney
Apr 14, 2016 Mary Dulaney added it
Shelves: dnf
I tried... I really tried to read this, but I was so bored that I couldn't finish it- a rarity for me. The writing bothered me first- too stilted as if it was written for a beginning English class. I just couldn't get interested in the characters, either. I found myself skimming pages, hoping for something to keep my interest.
Jan 25, 2014 AH rated it really liked it
This one was free on B&N. It is old time royal romance with denial, struggle, and ultimately a happy ever after. Was engaged enough to buy the second book. Elise Marion is a woman of color and I love to support this underrepresented demographic.
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Romance, Historic...: Giveaway of my Debut Historical Romance 10 24 Oct 27, 2011 10:31AM  
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I first picked up a pen with with dreams of writing at the age of 12. I’ve been writing ever since and have found a love of romantic stories both sweet and sensual.

I am a woman with two jobs. My first job consists of taking care of home and family, which includes a busy Army husband, three rambunctious kids, and two very active dogs. When I’m not doing that I’m stretching the imagination with stor
More about Elise Marion...

Other Books in the Series

Kings of Cardenas (6 books)
  • The Second Son
  • The Lady Knights of Barony
  • Gypsy Rose
  • The Mistress (Kings of Cardenas #3.5)
  • The Gypsy (Kings of Cardenas #4)

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