Prince of Charming
I love faery stories. Be it a lighter kind of “fairy tale” or darker stories of magical beings, I am always searching for a read that will take me to another world. Karen Fox’s Prince of Charming is a story about one of the most famous magical beings there is, Robin Goodfellow, known to readers of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream as Puck, a character who is given quite different treatment here.
Kate Carmichael is about to become homeless. The house where she has lived for twelve years with Nana, the kindly woman who took her in when Kate’s father left now belongs to Nana’s grandson Adam, a cold man who never cared for Nana but nevertheless is the next of kin. Kate is sure Nana wouldn’t leave her out in the cold and vows to search the house until she finds the will that entitles her to the house. Instead Kate, who possesses the Faery sight, finds herself face to face with Robin Goodfellow who looks exactly like the gorgeous man in the portrait that has adorned Nana’s living room for decades. When Robin tells Kate that he is the son of Oberon, King of the Fae and that he has been trapped in the portrait for 200 years because of a spell, Kate is understandably skeptical. To complicate matters, while Kate has freed Robin from his framed prison, the spell is not completely gone – Robin is now bound to her.
While Kate searches for the will, she and Robin also search for a circlet belonging to Titania, Oberon’s wife. When Oberon gave the circlet to Robin’s mortal mother, Titania took her anger out on Robin and cast the spell that imprisoned him. Now he believes that returning it is the key to his freedom, but to return the circlet he must find the entrance to the Fae realm, which he cannot do without using his powers, thereby alerting Titania to the fact that he has escaped the portrait. When Titania’s is told of Robin’s escape, her anger knows no limits and since one Fae cannot kill another, the target for her vengeance becomes Kate. Robin, who would give up anything for the woman he loves, does in fact make a heartbreaking sacrifice for Kate’s safe return to her world.
Robin’s attraction to Kate might seem instantaneous but in reality he knows her better than just about anyone, having watched her grow up during the 12 years he’s been hanging as a portait on the wall. Unable to speak or move, Robin has watched and listened aplenty; the woman before him enthralls him. Kate however, is not so sure someone as beautiful as Robin could honestly be attracted to her. In a world where models and actresses are ever thinner, Kate is curvy and lush. Being abandoned by her father when she was thirteen doesn’t add to her self-esteem, and her insecurity leads her to doing things like setting Robin up on a date with her coworker while Kate sobs miserably in her room.
Both Robin and Kate display lack of judgment at times, acting selfishly when they both know better, which diminished my enjoyment of the book, as did the lack of consistency when it came to the rules of Fae magic. Robin’s magical powers work only when it suits the plot. Titania’s powers are apparently infinite, but a character very easily escapes one of her spells with hardly any explanation. Despite these problems, Prince of Charming casts a lighthearted and whimsical spell. The many touches of magic will make for a diverting afternoon’s read, albeit a slight one.