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Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by bestselling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale.
Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess—just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.
The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon’s Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family’s tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he is blindsided by love.
Their lives are worlds apart. He’s a royal prince. She’s an ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation.
It’s the ultimate choice. His kingdom or her heart? God’s will or their own?
Let me get this out of the way first. I was born and raised in Great Britain during the era of Princess Diana. I’m now an American citizen, but I still consider myself British in many ways. I listen to British radio, follow British sport, and love English chocolate. And yes, I did get up early to watch the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. It is with this background and ‘bias’ that I read Once Upon a Prince. With that being said, I found just one ‘negative.’ Prince Nathaniel is from Brighton Kingdom. Every time Brighton was mentioned, my mind immediately went to the seaside town of the same name on the south coast of England where my parents took me for a couple of holidays when I was a child. The only connection it has with anything royal – that I know of – is the Royal Pavilion, built during the Regency era. Otherwise, Brighton and its fictional counterpart couldn’t be any more different!
This is now the third book I’ve read by Rachel Hauck, and it’s the third book by her that I love. From a British point of view, I appreciated the accuracy in the dialect. Nate calls his mother, “Mum,” which sounds like a small thing but is actually very important. We Brits don’t call our mothers, “Mom,” something that has often been a problem for me when trying to find a suitable Mother’s Day card. The way Nate introduces himself is similar to how Princes William and Harry call themselves William and Harry Wales. I could imagine the coronation ceremony taking place in Westminster Abbey, and the abdication talk reminded me of the events of 1936 when Edward VIII chose love over the throne.
The book is divided into three parts. The first and last are set on St Simon’s Island off the coast of Georgia. I once had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours there and I would love to return. A pivotal location on it is Christ Church, Frederica, where Susanna and Nate agree to surrender their lives to God. Susanna returns to this surrender more than once as her life continues to go contrary to how she would like. The middle section is when Susanna is invited to Nate’s coronation. It’s Cinderella going to the ball, complete with a pair of fabulous Louboutin shoes.
Cynics will protest that this is a highly unrealistic storyline. Yes, it is improbable, but aren’t all fairy tales? Isn’t that we like them? They give us the chance to escape our ordinary lives. Regular novels do the same. How many women have dreamed of being Elizabeth Bennett to Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy? Others find Jane Eyre’s Rochester irresistible. (For the record, I don’t!) Our lives are unique, but that doesn’t mean we can’t drift away for a couple of hours with a modern-day fairy tale such as Once Upon a Prince. I was happy to do just that, and I hope you will too.
Publication Date: 07 May 2013
Page Count: 352
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Thank you to Litfuse and Zondervan for my free electronic copy of Once Upon a Prince, which I downloaded from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.