Month of Love Review: When We Meet Again by Victoria Alexander
Pamela is a mystery Alexei is determined to solve…
Prince Alexei of Avalonia is a master at the art of seduction, but when a mysterious young woman he meets at a masked ball spends the night in his bed, he finds he is touched in ways he cannot forget. Still, he wonders if she was real or a dream spun of moonlight.
Alexei might well be a temptation Pamela cannot resist…
And Miss Pamela Effington is no dream. Certainly, succumbing to the prince’s seduction was madness. Now she’s come to her senses and is thankful their paths will never cross again. Even if they do, he had never truly seen her face.
But they are both in for the shock of their lives. For back in London, determined to lead a blameless life, Pamela finds Alexei occupying her home – a townhouse she’s only recently inherited – and he refuses to leave. A feigned courtship seems an excellent idea, and soon the mystery and temptation begin all over again.
I guess I’m incorrigible. Even when I don’t deliberately set out to to write one of Elvie’s patented Way Back Reviews, I still end up bringing you a review of a book that was published in 2005. (Of course, that seems like yesterday, but that’s another topic for another day.) But there is a method to my madness! When Doll Kitt was putting together the Month of Love line-up (and hasn’t she done a fabulous job??), I took a look at the list of romance authors PBD has featured, and I realized that Victoria Alexander was missing. So I decided to share with you the book that was my own introduction to the author and her wonderful, hilarious Effington family.
Of course, When We Meet Again isn’t the first book in the Effington series. It’s actually the tenth! I picked up a copy in a used bookstore because I liked the back cover blurb, never realizing that it was part of an extensive series. Fortunately, this did not matter one jot to my enjoyment of either the plot or the characters. To my knowledge, there are eleven books so far, and I’ve read most of them hopelessly out of order. Hasn’t made a bit of difference. All of the books stand alone exceptionally well, although you certainly have extra insight into the characters and family relationships if you’ve been reading along in the proper order.
Miss Pamela Effington threw her cap over the proverbial windmill when she fell in love at age 20 with a dishonorable fool who relieved her of her virginity and didn’t even have the decency to keep quiet about it. Disgusted with the revelation of her lover’s true character, Pamela leaves England to escape the scandal rather than marry the wart. (I like a heroine with gumption, don’t you?) She travels the continent with her widowed aunt, living in permanent exile. After two years of this, she decides to embark on a life of sophistication and experience; in other words, she decides that, since she’s already ruined, she might as well enjoy it! She carefully selects a playboy prince (of an imaginary tiny country somewhere in Eastern Europe) at a masked ball in Venice to be the man to usher her into this new life.
Prince Alexei Pruzinsky of Avalonia seems like an inspired choice. He’s charming, handsome, has a prodigious reputation with women, and Pamela can be absolutely sure that there is no future between the two of them. Nevertheless, she insists on preserving her anonymity. And it turns out that Alexei might not have been such a good choice after all – Pamela learns that casual intimacy is not for her, and barely escapes with her heart intact after one glorious night, a night that leaves both her and him strangely and unaccountably moved. So, the stage is set for sparks to fly four years later when they meet again under vastly different circumstances.
When We Meet Again requires a more substantial suspension of disbelief than many of the historical romance novels I prefer, but somehow, that doesn’t seem to make a blind bit of difference to how enjoyable I found this book to be. I mean, really, deposed princes of imaginary kingdoms? But I think the key to the mystery is that this is not a book that takes itself the least bit seriously, which somehow frees even normally nitpicky readers such as myself to do the same. If I had to pick one adjective to describe Victoria Alexander’s style, it would be “funny.” The characters are so delightful, and their dialogues so witty, you almost never want them to stop talking. Although what they do when they’re not talking is quite enjoyable to read, too! And Prince Alexei certainly isn’t afflicted with the mannerisms of the British upper class. Reading about a non-British hero makes a definitely refreshing change.
Is When We Meet Again perfect? Hardly. The plot has one or two holes that might be big enough to develop their own gravitational fields, mostly having to do with the whys behind why various characters act as they do in various circumstances. Both Pamela’s need to keep the fact that she and Alexei had a prior, intimate acquaintance, and the reason Alexei produces for not being able to make Pamela his princess seem dubious, just to name two. And the premise of a sham engagement that leads to real love is not exactly staggeringly original. In the final analysis, however, none of that matters. This is just a lovely romp of a story that manages to convince you to take everything completely at face value. It’s just too much fun to consider doing anything else.
For those that are curious, the usual order to read the Effington books is as follows:
Elvie bought a used copy of this book.
Visit Victoria Alexander on the web to learn more about her Effington family as well as her other books. You can also find Victoria Alexander on and .