Penelope and Prince Charming
I’ll admit that I bought this and another in the series because I was really in the mood for a fantasy and Jennifer Ashley has been promoting the re-release of her Nvengaria series as being chock-full of magic and romance. She’s a go-to author for me so I figured they would be a hit. Unfortunately I could tell right away that they were written quite early in her career so they didn’t have all of the flair and finesse of her more recent titles.
Penelope and Prince Charming sets up the small European principality of Nvengaria as isolated from its neighbors and still embracing the old ways of magicians and half-human creatures that live in the surrounding forests. Sounds like it should be a great foundation to showcase a romantic story of a Prince destined to reunite the royal families through a fated marriage – but none of the story is actually set in this magical land. It all takes place in merry old ordinary England where we get the typical Historical elements of a pompous Prinny, a spinster heroine who never thought to marry for love and the spunky sidekick destined for her own book. The little bit of magic we do get is all used against our main couple rather than wielded by either one of them. There is much more of a focus on mundane ideas like the political climate on the continent and how Nvengaria would survive European imperialism.