Dina's Reviews > The Prize

The Prize by Julie Garwood
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Nov 27, 11

bookshelves: historical-romance, dik
Read in August, 2009

"He never knew what hit him." The first line in this book was enough to hook me. How could I not love a heroine who was smart and resourceful enough to drop the hero to the ground in the middle of a battle?

Baron Royce is Norman and Lady Nicholaa is Saxon, and that makes them enemies in 1066. The Prize starts with Nicholaa trying to defend her home against Royce and his "barbaric" soldiers. She's successfully defeated the three previous knights sent by "the bastard" William of Normandy, soon to be the new King of England, but she realizes Royce is on a league of his own and the chances of her winning against him are nonexistent. So she tricks him into thinking she's her twin sister Danielle - a nun! - and manages to escape and find sanctuary in the nearest convent. When Royce finds out that there's no sister Danielle and that he's been had by the cunning Nicholaa, he can't help but appreciate how clever she is and surprises his men by laughing instead of getting furious with her deception.

Arrogant that he is, Royce doesn't see Nicholaa's escape as a defeat, as he's sure he'll be able to leave her sanctuary and go with him to meet his King William in London. As the Saxon woman who's so valiantly defended her family's holding, she's a legend among the Normans, the bride the King is going to give to his most worthy knight as "the prize" in a contest for her hand - and her family's holding and lands, of course. As it happens, Royce does get Nicholaa to leave her sanctuary and go with him to London, even though she keeps trying to escape every chance she gets along the way. During this journey, they start seeing each other with new eyes, and Royce grows more and more attracted to Nicholaa while she realizes how honorable, caring and protective he is. And that's how they start to fall in love with each other, against their better judgment. Naturally, they still have a long way to understand and accept their feelings, and that's where the fun lies. :)

I liked Royce from the start, and he won me when he laughed - instead of going ballistic - at being bested by Nicholaa with her "nun act". He was arrogant, hard and a bit gruff on the outside, but soft and oh-so-sweet on the inside. He was like a delicious petit gâteau, my favorite dessert, and all I can say is, Yummy, may I have some more, please? ;) He was smart and brave, but didn't think he was worthy of Nicholaa because she was a beautiful and gentle lady while he was just an "ugly" - his face was marred by a horrible scar - and hardened warrior. But she never saw him that way and, incredibly, she even thought his "handsomeness" was disturbing. Ah, love is blind, indeed!

Nicholaa was a strong and cunning heroine. She was a bit ditzy and naive sometimes - her convoluted plan to get Royce drunk with ale backfired big time, LOL - but that came across as charming and not annoying. She also seemed unable to stop herself from telling lies - all for the greater good, of course - but she couldn't keep them straight to save her life and Royce had no problem seeing through them. The way he kept cornering and trapping her inside her lies had me laughing out loud every single time.

And Royce's lectures... I loved those scenes. The man loved to lecture Nicholaa, even though he was aware she didn't pay any attention to it. I had a smile on my face every time he clasped his hands behind his back, started lecturing her and she just sat there with her hands folded on her lap, daydreaming the whole time. That was just one example of the many interactions between Royce and Nicholaa that were just a joy to read, and I couldn't get enough of them.

The only thing that I found a bit "jarring" was the lack of closure in regards to Nicholaa's older brother Thurston. That wasn't "bad" enough to make me enjoy this book any less, it's just that I wanted to know what happened to him.

All in all, what's left for me to say? Another Garwood, another winner! At this point, I'm a truly devoted fan of Ms. Garwood. I haven't gone through all her backlist yet, but I really loved everything I've read so far. Having read her books almost back to back, it was easy for me to notice that her stories have some kind of a "formula", but it's one I love so I'm all for it. Very well done, Ms. Garwood!
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Reading Progress

08/23/2009 page 1
0.25% "And the Garwood glom continues..." 8 comments
08/23/2009 page 115
28.19% "Checkmate! I'm feeling an uncontrollable urge to play chess... *sighs*"
08/24/2009 page 263
64.46% "I think I'm in love with Royce... *sighs*" 3 comments
08/24/2009 page 432
100% "What? Is it really finished yet? :("

Comments (showing 1-25 of 25) (25 new)

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message 1: by K. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. Sold! LOL! I'm putting this one on my list as well for a re-read in my "official re-read November" month shelf. Can't wait to revisit them! :D There were so many details you brought up in your review I had forgotten about, that I'm certain I need to reacquaint myself.

Right now, I've probably "bitten off more than I can chew" for one month with my chosen re-reads . . . but I think I need a couple Garwoods on the pile for sure. Since this is one of my other favorites, I'm going to make it a priority.

Thanks for a such a great review D.!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Dina. I thought Royce and Nicolaa were a great couple. I loved how she thought he was gorgeous and he was like, "Huh?" And I liked how she chose him and he was really surprised about it.

Julianna Yay! I'm glad you liked it. Great review, Dina!

Dina You're welcome, K.! I just ordered The Wedding based on what you said yesterday, and I can't wait to get it. I know The Bride comes first but I'm already in love with Connor, so I'm going to read these books out of order.

Danielle, like they say, beauty's in the eye of the beholder. I loved that about Nicholaa too. She even thought he took advantage of his "good looks" by making her feel daft around him, LOL.

Dina Thanks, Julie! :)

message 6: by Miss Kim (last edited Aug 25, 2009 11:49AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Miss Kim It's been a few years since I read this one, but is the one where tells her "stop that infernal smiling!" when she is trying to be what she thinks he's wants her to be? Gosh, did that make sense? LOL.

Dina Yes, Kim, this is the one! Royce and Nicholaa made each other crazy, and that taught him a lesson: beware of what you ask for because you just might get it, LOL.

Miss Kim That phrase has stayed with me, because he was one of my favorite Garwood heros. The one with the scar.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Oh that was one of my favorite parts when she would tell him to stop using his good looks against her. I need to reread this book!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Kim wrote: "It's been a few years since I read this one, but is the one where tells her "stop that infernal smiling!" when she is trying to be what she thinks he's wants her to be? Gosh, did that make sense? L..."

That part was so funny, Kim.

message 11: by Angelc (new) - added it

Angelc Great review, Dina! This looks really funny and sweet!

message 12: by Barbara M. (new) - added it

Barbara M. Ok...so it looks like I'm gonna give Garwood another try! Great review!

Corrine This is definitely in my top 3 Garwood titles. Great review, Dina! You make me want to pick it up right now and re-read it.

message 14: by Rane (new) - added it

Rane How could I not love a heroine who was smart and resourceful enough to drop the hero to the ground in the middle of a battle?

BWHAHA! That's so awesome! Adding this book to my every growing wishlist!
Awesome Review Dina!

message 15: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Thanks, ladies! :) I have to say, I'm still "rereading" this book in my mind. There were so many wonderful moments between Royce and Nicholaa... *sighs*

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I think you've encouraged some of us to do a reread. :)

message 17: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina That should be fun, Danielle. :)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I wish I had more time for rereads. I have so many non-read books to read and I keep getting more. :)

message 19: by Nisha (new) - added it

Nisha Love your review. Really makes me need to read it.

message 20: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Thanks, Nisha. This is one of my favorite Garwoods. :)

Zumbagirl I love Julie Garwood too! She does seem to have a formula. I'm okay with that. I just really like her characters and the way she develops their relationships. The Prize was great and I like your review:)

Samantha I always wondered what happened to Nicholaa's brother as well. I might have to do a re-read of this one soon :)

message 23: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Thanks, Zumbagirl. I have no problem with authors who follow a certain formula. If it ain't broke, why fix it? ;)

Samantha, Garwood books are great for rereads. They never lose the appeal no matter how many times I reread them.

Samantha I agree with that :)

Romance and Fantasy for Cosmopolitan Girls I loved every word of it!! thanks to your reviews I didn't give up on this genre :-) own you big ;-)

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