Princess Ever After
My husband likes vanilla. I like chocolate. Neither of us can really explain why we like that particular flavor, we just know we do. With books I can normally tell you what makes it work or what makes it not work but every once in awhile I will find myself liking a style of story I typically wouldn’t. This is one of those tales.
Regina (Reggie) Beswick took a giant leap of faith when she left being a CPA to run a classic car restoration company, and as she flies down the road in a Challenger she has just finished rebuilding she knows she made the right choice. Being her own boss, helping to bring the past into the present, these are the things she was meant to do. Even if they make her late for a date like she is this evening. At the ripe old age of 29 she finally knows who she is and where she is meant to be. And she plans to keep it that way, thank you very much, even if some of her friends think she’s having an early midlife crisis.
While Reggie’s friends might think she made the wrong choice career wise they sure don’t fault her as a hostess. The Friday evening pizza parties that the garage throws at quitting time have become a start of the weekend standard for lots of the locals. It’s not atypical for friends of friends to show up or even potential clients, so when the well-dressed stranger shows for the party he is barely a blip on Reggie’s radar. When he opens his mouth however, he changes her whole life.
Tanner Burkhardt, Minister of Culture for the tiny Duchy of Hessenberg, has been sent to retrieve the long-lost princess to his kingdom. When the entailment which allowed Brighton to rule them for the last hundred years ends in the next few months they must have a monarch in place to resume rule of their country. Otherwise, they are absorbed into Brighton permanently. Tanner has nothing against Brighton but he hates to see his country be just one more small nation absorbed until it is only a footnote in history. Tracking down Princess Regina took longer than expected but now that he has found her he has no intention of leaving without her.
Reggie, on the other hand, has no intention of leaving with him. For starters, this has all come as a complete surprise to her. Sure, her grandmother had loved to play princess with her, creating fabulous tiaras out of the simplest supplies. And sure, there had been some fairy tale about a princess in the family. But those were hardly enough to prepare her to take over a duchy! Besides, she can’t leave – she has just gotten her life right where she wants it. Or has she? As her dad is quick to point out, her home isn’t even furnished. Her business is barely making do. And the only man in her life is a good friend whom she firmly intends to keep in that spot. After wrestling with the issue in prayer Reggie boards a plane for Hessenberg, unsure of what the future has in store for her but curious to learn about the past she never knew.
This story is a very light hearted redo of classic tales like The Prince and I and Cinderfella. It contains the same charming mix of silly humor, fairytale style storyline and serious heart. The aim is to show that love, faith and courage bring about happily ever afters and it succeeds at that goal admirably.
One of the reasons it succeeds is the appeal of the two leads. Tanner is a clever combination of serious lawyer, laid back rugby player and Prince Charming. He is attracted to Reggie’s blunt honesty and her practical intelligence almost from the start. As he grows to know her, her sweet humility combined with her beauty win him over completely.
For Reggie, Tanner is a solid patch in the ever shifting sands of her life. She’s grateful that Tanner is someone who, like her, examines the full picture before making any decision. She’s also grateful that he understands this is not an easy adjustment for her. She’s had no training to prepare her to be a princess and she’s not at all certain she wants the job. His patience in helping her to adjust highlights for her just what a great husband and father he would be.
While the tale is mostly fantasy I was grateful that the author threw in a few kernels of reality. She made the romance between Reggie and Tanner real. She also put a few obstacles in Reggie’s road to the throne. Some in the government feel, correctly, that she probably isn’t ready to rule. Others are more interested in setting up a democracy than monarchy. Reggie is one who agrees with that – she understands the entailment calls for her to step in at the start but she is an American who believes firmly in the people’s right to rule. I appreciated that the book highlighted how hard it would be for someone who has never been in politics to understand all that is involved in the running of a nation.
As an Inspirational this novel took on the task of combining American evangelistic faith with the far more reserved European approach to religion. I thought the author did a nice job of that by having Tanner’s father be a bishop. It explained why Tanner had such a strong background in relation to his faith and why he felt so at home with Reggie’s ardent Christianity. The author wisely avoided discussing denominational differences and concentrated strictly on their personal spiritual journeys.
While I tend to not enjoy books that are quite this light, this one worked for me. It is a sweet tale which I think will connect well with Inspirational fans looking for an airy, cheerful read. It might not be brilliant or artsy but it’s fun and sometimes that’s all you want.