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Princess Ever After (Royal Wedding Series) Paperback – February 4, 2014
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Regina “Reggie” Beswick has left her job as a high-powered CPA to help her father’s lifelong friend and his ex-marine buddies restore classic cars. Mike, her friend since childhood, has an unrequited love for Reggie and feels that she has made a terrible career move. But Reggie is living her dream and loving her life. Fate has, however, other things in store for Reggie. It turns out that she’s a lost princess of Hessenberg, a small European country. When her true identity comes to light, Tanner Burkhardt, Hessenberg’s minister of culture, is sent to Florida to retrieve her. Without reigning royalty, it turns out, Hessenberg will lose its status as a sovereign nation, so Tanner’s mission is vital to the survival of his country. But the all-American, car-loving Reggie has no desire to take up a tiara in Europe, and Tanner has his work cut out for him. This delightful, faith-based twist on a familiar theme is the first book in Hauck’s (Once upon a Prince, 2013) new inspirational series, Once upon a Princess. --Shelley Mosley
“I didn’t just love this story, I wanted to dive in and live in it . . . If you are looking for a book to get lost within, this is it!” (USAToday.com)
“Hauck has created an enchanting novel featuring a charming hero and heroine.” (Booklist, Starred Review)
“Well-developed secondary characters are entertaining in their own right, adding a quirky touch (as do cameo-style appearances by real-life royals). Hauck fans will find a gem of a tale.” (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review)
“Once Upon a Prince is a modern-day fairy tale that’s a delightful page turner full of fun, faith, and barbeque.” (CBA Retailers + Resources)
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A contented Reggie settles into an uncertain yet oh-so-satisfying new profession. So, you can imagine how thrown off she is when a European gent shows up to proclaim her the long-lost princess and heir to the troubled island duchy of Hessenberg.
For those who haven't read Once Upon A Prince or any other book in the series, observe two sister island nations nestled in the North Sea: Brighton and the Grand Duchy Hessenberg, become entangled for the span of a century. In 1914, the weak Grand Duke of Hessenberg, dreading the coming world war, gave stewardship of his duchy to the more secure kingdom of Brighton, this entailment to last one hundred years.
The entailment's end is nigh. But here's the pickle: If an heir cannot be found, then the Grand Duchy Hessenberg will be absorbed entirely by Brighton and cease to be its own nation.
If you'd read Once Upon A Prince, then you're aware of the part King Nathaniel II of Brighton plays in seeking an heir. This book alerts us that it's been six months since Nathaniel's coronation, for those curious about the timeline. But Nathaniel's investigations have not been in vain. Hail, success! And, so, Nathaniel dispatches Tanner Burkhardt, ex-barrister and Hessenberg's Minister of Culture these past six months, to north Florida to fetch the lost princess.
It's ironic, isn't it? That Reggie now has a choice to make. Keep restoring classic automobiles... or restore an ancient nation.
I think I love this book. And not because of the love story. Honestly, the romantic bits weren't nearly as interesting to me, probably because I don't think Tanner is all that interesting. The most intriguing element in his story arc is the dark secret he's kept hushed for years and is always feeling guilty about, except when that secret gets outed, I didn't even think it was all that scandalous. If there's a failing in Rachel Wauck's terrific writing, it's that she fails to make the love story convincing, at least, to me.
Maybe some plot spoilers.
But I just about love everything else. Most of all, I adore Reggie, or, if we're being fancy about it, Her Royal Highness Princess Regina Alice Beswick Augustine-Saxon. Watch her hem and haw, as she ought, about whether to keep tinkering with car parts or embrace her royal destiny. See her fend off her childhood friend who wants to be more than friends. See her connect to her past by way of a fairy tale written and illustrated by her great-grandmother. See Reggie travel 4,212 miles to the grand Meadowbluff Palace at Christmastime. Then see her try her durndest to get her palace staff to call her "Reggie."
In Hessenberg there is unrest. Not just because there's uncertainty about possibly being permanently folded into Brighton as a province but, also, because a notion is introduced that, maybe, royals aren't needed anymore when Hessenberg becomes independent, especially if it's a redneck royal.
And what of our redneck royal? Or as Reggie refers to herself when trying on an unfortunate set of clothes that clash with her hair: Princess Match-on-Fire. Of the four female MCs in this series, she's my favorite. It could've been Avery Truitt, because I really liked how she was such a sparkplug in Once Upon A Prince, except when she later starred in A Royal Christmas Wedding, she'd become a more subdued character. But Reggie remains steadfast to her character. I dig how irrepressible she could be, and how approachable she is, and how her faith never wavered. It's also gratifying that we get a Susanna cameo, as well as several scenes with King Nathaniel II, very much a commanding presence. I wish that the book had delved more into Tanner's past, specifically - I did say spoilers, right? - his relationship with his 10-year-old twin daughters. But, no matter, I had a rollicking good time reading this one. I love modern-day fairy tales and, particularly, Cinderella pastiches, of which I feel this book is a very fine specimen. Crack this one open and sink into a marvelous story. Observe Reggie as she comes into her own, takes her rightful place on the throne, finds her one true love (I guess), and thwart a man's evil machinations with uncommon kindness.
Tanner Burkhardt has been given the job to find the lost princess of Hessenberg and return her Hessenberg to save the nation. So, when Tanner, the Minister of Culture of Duchy of Hessenberg shows up in Tallahassee to confront Reggie with the news, she is blown away. How is this possible? But what Regina doesn't know is that her grandmother was part of the royal family and left many years ago to pursue her own destiny. Regina is talked into visiting the country right away. She doesn't want to leave her dad and friends but she feels like she has to go for a visit at least. She has to decide what she feels she needs to do--follow her roots to save her family's heritage or live her normal life as a small town car restorer. This is a difficult decision for Reggie but she has Tanner to help her through the strange situation that she is thrown in and they develop a relationship that brings them close to each other. Faith plays a big part in helping Reggie and Tanner through this time.
This is a sweet story that is surreal but also lets us see God's hand in the outcome.