New Book Nook: The Princess and the Scoundrel Brings a New Perspective on Han and Leia’s Love Story

This review was originally posted on The Geeky Waffle. It has been reposted here with permission.

Han and Leia have always been an interesting couple to me. For me personally, their onscreen romance never had that heart-racing quality that I look for in a love story. Not to say that I don’t think theirs is a good love story, but I think I’ve always just taken them as a given. This might have something to do with watching the entire Original Trilogy for the first time in a single day. I was only 7 years old, so by the time we get to their romantic resolution at the end of Return of the Jedi, I’m tired, grumpy, and a little confused. But from that point on in my mind, Han and Leia just were. They weren’t something that made my heart race watching a love story unfold, though I could certainly see the appeal. 

This changed with The Princess and the Scoundrel by Beth Revis, which managed to make a love story that is older than I am feel fresh, and exciting, and yes, even swooningly romantic. 

If you, like me, have spent the last couple of years alternating between Star Wars stories and romance novels, then I highly recommend The Princess and the Scoundrel, which exists right at the intersection of the two. The story picks up immediately after the Battle of Endor and the destruction of the second Death Star. Not wanting to waste any more time, the two decide to get married right there on the forest moon, with no one but the Ewoks and the Rebellion for company.

But good things don’t stay good for long, and reality sets in before either of them are ready. Their blissful post-wedding haze is broken almost right away with the very real fact that the galaxy is now in total upheaval following the death of the Emperor. The most pressing thing, really, is that many in the Empire don’t believe Palpatine is dead and things that aren’t happening in the immediate vicinity of the Death Star are proceeding as normal. 

Since there is no such thing as a day off for either the princess or the scoundrel, Mon Mothma gifts them a honeymoon on the luxurious Halcyon cruiser where they can both spend time together and also possibly do some investigating for the rebellion while they’re at it. 

The adventure and the politics of the story are a natural part of Star Wars and it’s to Revis’s credit that these things never feel totally divorced from the romance, which really is the heart of the book. The love story isn’t an afterthought, it’s integral to every part of The Princess and the Scoundrel and might honestly have given us our first true Star Wars romance since Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars.

Because there is no doubt in my mind that this book is a romance first and foremost. It adds dimension and clarity to a relationship that, when we last saw the two of them on screen together, things were strained and sad. There was a lot of imagination that went into wondering how Han and Leia had become so strained in The Force Awakens, and the best guesses said that this probably had something to do with Ben falling to the dark. 

But now with the added context of The Princess and The Scoundrel, we see it for what it is. These are two people who desire each other, who love each other, and who really want to make it work. But these are also two people who have been conditioned — and even traumatized — by what they suffered under the Empire. They do their best to shake it, and to start a new life together, and it’s to Revis’s credit that her writing sells their love story so well, you come out believing these two crazy kids might just make it after all.

The Princess and the Scoundrel is out August 16. Special thank you to Del Rey for an advance copy for review purposes.

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