Here’s the feedback so far:
Brad, I just finished and I have a few things to say. At first sight the cover lead me to expect sex on every other page. I had so expected a hot guy to be the object of his affection. What I got was a huge surprise. Something that has become very rare a well written thriller wrapped in historical intrigue and tied up with an old fashioned love story. I was drawn in from page 1 and became irritated at any interruption. Being able to use today’s political mess as a backdrop while recalling Russia’s past and present brilliant. Nicolas reminded me of Peter the Great and his dysfunctional family. Queen Alexandra and her son bring to mind Game of Thrones…I wish the book was longer as it was throughly enjoyable and imminently readable. I hope to see more of this genre from you. I can’t wait until release day as you’re getting one hell of a review. Thank you for such a wonderful story.
And this, from someone who saw the early, “gay princes” version fragment:
I’m angry. LOL. I don’t want it to be over. And I’m angry. Because I didn’t want to like it. I secretly resented the original prince getting replaced with Francesca. But I wanted to be open minded. And suddenly I have an actual book in my hand that would have been ruined by a same sex pair. And I don’t know what to do with that.
I hate heterosexual romance…. despise it. I hate it for the same reason I hate homosexual romances that rely on the same division of power between the “strong cool” guy and the “weaker femme” guy. And I trusted you. I mean, obviously. But I still have a lifetime of het fiction that has brainwashed me into thinking all of it is automatically that way.
This couldn’t be further from the bodice rippers I cut my romance teeth on, and I couldn’t be happier. FINALLY, a fucking female of value. Oh, I know how that sounds. It’s the reason I hate contemporary romance so much. The girls make me want to give myself a lobotomy. Or a sex reassignment surgery. They’re sooooo…. well. They’re not Francesca.
I think it’s obvious from jump street that even though Niko is a playboy and a tart, that he’s got this rough charm that we automatically like, but it’s not obvious straight out of the gate that we’re going to love Francesca either, especially if the audience is as anti-het fiction as I am. Or… if we read the “plot development” on day one, when we had two princes. LOL. But I don’t miss ole whats his face. She.. she’s incredible.
You fucking nailed it. The development of the story, the history of Danubia and Burgenland, it’s political without being overbearing, it’s currently relevant, without being preachy, it’s sexy without being glorified porn without plot… it’s everything I want in a romance novel, of either genre, without any of the shit I despise about them… and it’s really smart.
I love the characters, love how they change either other, and how strong they both are in their own way, and how they aren’t subservient to each other, but have this innate sense of goodness and amazing inner core that guides them where they need to go. They aren’t perfect… No. She’s a little judgmental, and a little more logical than emotional, and he’s a bit more reactive than proactive, and outwardly careless, but you didn’t make either of them unrealistically perfect. They have struggles, they have problems, just like everyone else, they have insecurities, and they have doubt. And you can’t not root for them.
Even if you were prepared to hate them. And they don’t LOSE themselves when they find each other, like most of this type of stories. It’s spot on.
Very nice pacing and use of backstory. Excellent drive to the, um, *cough cough* finish This one ought to do quite nicely in the fantasy/myths/fairy-tale romance categories.
It left me with a ooo-rah and a big smile. Well done.
And one more, why not!
Excellent! Nothing like ratcheting up the tension…Once again, you have proved yourself the king of the backstory as well. A great success, father 🙂
So…yeah! I have the right cover, the right story, the right blurb, but..who knows? I have no mailing list, no ad budget, none of the stuff I need to make this go Top 10…but…you never know right now. We’ll see in a few days!