Cordina's Crown Jewel
Camilla is a royal princess of Cordina, a fictional Mediterranean principality, and she’s on the verge of a breakdown after a charity function in Washington, D.C. where she was once again mobbed by the paparazzi. Deciding enough is enough Camilla plans to run away and try life as an ordinary person for a few weeks. So one haircut and borrowed rental car later, she’s on the road. Her little adventure comes to an unexpected halt on a rural road in Vermont when she swerves to miss a deer during a rainstorm and damages the car.
Fortunately, she isn’t stranded long when Delaney Caine drives by. Delaney, an archeologist, has come home to Vermont to rest and recuperate from injuries received in an on-the-job accident. He is also trying to get caught up on administrative work, but it’s tough as he can only use one hand while his dislocated shoulder heals. So after a little griping, he hires Camilla as an administrative assistant and housekeeper. Since Delaney seems to be the only person on the planet who hasn’t seen Camilla’s face splashed across the tabloids she decides not to reveal her royal lineage and just enjoy her anonymity. Unfortunately, secrets have a way of coming out at the most unexpected times. Will Delaney still love her when he finds out she’s a princess?
Despite the fact that Delaney was continuously cranky, cantankerous, and rude, I liked him. He rarely, if ever, wavers from form. Even when doing his best to be romantic he gripes about it. Delaney is a lovable curmudgeon and wins Camilla’s heart despite himself. He’s clueless about how to deal with people and stubbornly set in his ways, but once Camilla wears him down he’s lost without her and it’s sweet. He also has a few secrets about his family that serve as humble pie after he reacts badly about Camilla’s true identity.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t warm as easily to Camilla. The poor little rich girl routine grows old for us non-princesses, especially since we see what a great family Camilla has. Running away a la Roman Holiday is strictly a fairy tale plot device that further strains credulity when we discover she can cook and clean like a pro – not exactly a part of everyday royal protocol. But on the plus side Camilla holds her own with Delaney and realizes quickly that she’ll have to be the aggressor in the relationship or hit Delaney over the head with a rock before he’ll notice she’s interested.
But Camilla wasn’t the reason the book “only” rates a B. Unfortunately, that falls on her family’s shoulders. While I was amused and adored Delaney’s parents, particularly his mother Alice, Camilla’s family was there merely as a reminder that this is a sequel to an earlier trilogy. The scenes with her relatives rarely flowed, and they pulled me out of the story. I like to revisit characters I’ve previously met and enjoyed, just not when it’s awkwardly presented and interrupts the rhythm of the book.
I still recommend reading Cordina’s Crown Jewel, especially if you’re a fan of Roberts’ work. The story is a nice modern day fairy tale with a most reluctant Prince Charming. It is not required to have read the previous books in the series, but if you’re obsessive about starting at the beginning, like me, the first three will be re-released this summer.