Falling for Prince Federico
Nicole Burnham’s series featuring the diTalora family of San Rimini is probably one of the best of its kind. There are certainly many imaginary principalities out there on the bookshelves, but somehow San Rimini and its ruling family manage to feel more real than most of them. By the end of this book, I had to remind myself – regretfully – that San Rimini doesn’t really exist.
Though San Rimini native Pia Renati has been living abroad for some time while working as a refugee relief worker, she returns to San Rimini at the request of her friend, Princess Jennifer diTalora. Married to Prince Antony of San Rimini and placed on bed rest while expecting their first child, Jennifer asks Pia to come to the palace to help her.
Also in the palace is Prince Federico, Prince Antony’s younger brother and a widower with two small children. Federico’s apparent devotion to propriety and formality is so firm that he carries the nickname “Prince Perfect,” an epithet he loathes. Federico loves his children dearly, but has trouble finding a nanny who can keep them under control. In one of his attempts to keep up with his sons, he runs into Pia.
Their paths continue to cross, and two things quickly become apparent. First of all, Pia and Federico get along quite well and, secondly, Pia is very good with the children. She is so good with them, in fact, that Federico asks her to stay on for a while as their nanny. Though Pia has mixed feelings about remaining in San Rimini since she wants to get back to the relief work that means so much to her, it doesn’t take a lot of guesswork to figure out what happens next.
Still, even if the storyline runs along predictable lines, it is very well-done. Burnham does a great job of making San Rimini seem like a real place. Pia and Federico are both quite likable and, while I did not feel a strong emotional tie to them, I certainly enjoyed the afternoon I spent reading about their lives. This is more of a plot-driven or place-driven romance than one driven by character, and the author really makes the reader feel as though she has been fully drawn into their lives.
While the relationship between Federico and Pia developed a bit hurriedly, it is obvious that Ms. Burnham is one good writer. To create an imaginary world, flesh out characters, and develop plots and subplots all within such a short page-length takes serious skill. Nicole Burnham certainly has it, and I know that I will continue to read this series.