This indeed is a very lovely story. I was amazed at how Rachel Hauck formed the three stories of The Royal Wedding Series and plants the reader right inside two beautiful, fictitious countries. While the story is about an ordinary girl who discovers she's a long-lost princess, it is very believable. This is a story about a gal truly trying to serve God even in the unexpected way her life is going.
Oh man, I absolutely LOVED this book. The premise of the story mirrors that of The Princess Diaries in that it's a story about a girl who is a princess, that didn't know she was a princess. That's where the similarities end. I love when an author takes a well-known plot and makes it their own. Rachel Hauck definitely succeeded in that. The story flowed very well, and I loved reading about the history of Hessenberg. It added an interesting dimension to the story.
The characters were phenomenal. I loved Regina Beswick. Her sweet, Southern innocence endeared her to me instantly. Her strength and surety of faith added to her charm. Tanner Burkhardt was a handsome man, with a strong, rugged, and sweet side. I loved them together and their romance was story-book perfect. The conflict with Seamus defined their characters and helped move the story forward. I also loved, loved, loved the diary entries from Gram (Princess Alice) sprinkled throughout the story.
The message of the story was intricately weaved throughout the story. Both Reggie and Tanner had to overcome fear and self-doubt to embrace all that God had for them. See, when we doubt ourselves or the forgiveness the Lord freely offers, we keep ourselves from living joyfully in the Lord. When we let fear rule our lives, we can never be sure of ourselves in our calling.
Overall, I think this was the perfect edition to the Royal Weddings Series and look forward to the next book from Rachel Hauck.
I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher. Here is my honest review.
Rachel Hauck has officially become one of my favorite authors with the second book in this series. I read the first book, Once Upon a Prince, and looked forward to the next book. (There is a third book too - yea!)
The idea of finding out that you are a long-lost princess sounds very romantic; Hauck did keep the romance but also did a great job exploring the emotions of having a life-altering decision before you. At the core, this book is about identity and how we define ourselves. It's so often in our family or our jobs when ultimately, it should be in who we are in the Lord.
Reggie was a a great modern-day strong princess and Tanner was sweet. His character reaffirms that we all have moments, decisions that were questionable, but the Father still loves us.
Read this book! Only after you've read the first book. It could be a standalone read, but the experience will be much richer if you read in order.
Reggie Beswick, proud southern belle of Tallahassee, Florida, was not, on the surface, princess material. She was independent to a fault, honest and forthright. She didn't hold back if she had something on her mind. And more than anything besides her family, she loved antique cars. After a traditional college education and several years as a CPA at a local firm, she risked it all to begin her dream venture, opening a classic car renovation business with her friends Al, Wally and Rafe. Just as her first successful restoration project was accomplished, Tanner Burkhardt showed up and pulled the rug out from under her safe, happy world.
Tanner was the Minister of Culture of the tiny North Sea island nation of Hessenberg. He brought with him records and documents that he used to prove to her that Reggie's great grandmother, whom her family fondly called Gram, was none other than Princess Alice of the house of Augustine-Saxon, heir to the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg. Gram was a princess? How did the family not know that? Reggie had spent a lot of time with Gram as a little girl since her great-grandmother lived to nearly 100, while her grandmother and mother had died while she was still a young girl. Why hadn't she said anything about this?
This modern fairy tale was such a fun book to read. The differences between the down home Reggie and the straight-laced uptight Tanner made their growing attraction for each other amusing and endearing to watch. Sometimes the circumstances Reggie finds herself in seem a little far-fetched; but then, it is a fairy tale type story so it seems fitting although pretty much predictable.
Many of the supporting characters are heartwarming, especially Reggie's dad, her step-mom, and the co-owner of the renovation business, Al. This is the second book I've by this author in this series, and I believe Ms. Hauck has a talent for writing believable guiding lights that appear in the main characters' lives. Even Tanner's father fits into this category.
What the author does need to work on is dialogue, especially between the main characters. In some places the conversation becomes a bit forced, unnatural and a little off center. It's not very obvious unless you are looking for it. Sometimes I think it is difficult for authors to portray a character they have become fond of in their less than sterling qualities, even if it is for a short amount of time before that character begins their journey of maturity and growth.
However, overall, this book makes a delightful light read. I would recommend this to my friends.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Zondervan Fiction. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Does a girl ever grow out of princess stories? I mean really...
Happily ever afters fill that big, dreamy, romantic hole in our book loving hearts, and yes it only lasts a short time, but it's so worth it! We all need a temporary vacation from the realities of everyday life.
Thank you Rachel Huack for filling that princess need that we bury deep inside ourselves. The characters were realistic, believable and yet I enjoyed getting to know them. Although I'd have to say I preferred "Once Upon A Prince", this book was still a delightful sequel and it kept me up into the early morning.
I'd recommend this, not for those looking for the next great classic, but for all you ladies who feel the need to immerse yourselves in castles, royalty, old cars, and charming men with blonde hair :)