Once Upon A Prince by Rachel Hauck
Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by bestselling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale.
Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess---just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn't going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.
The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon's Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family's tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna's aid under the fabled Lover's Oak, he is blindsided by love.
Their lives are worlds apart. He's a royal prince. She's a ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel's coronation. It's the ultimate choice. His kingdom or her heart? God's will or their own? (Goodreads)
This was my first read by the author, Rachel Hauck, but I did find it an enjoyable read. This book is a Christian Romance novel, that happened to be one of the Amazon Kindle Daily Deals. Right away I loved the cover, I thought it looked romantic, modern day fairy tale-esque. When I read the summary, it definitely appealed to me, as it was essentially a modern day fairy tale reminiscent of Cinderella. I think fans of Rachel H other works, of overt Christian Romances, and of Contemporary Fairy Tale type reads will enjoy this one.
The story was a light, fun, whimsical read - it definitely delivered in the modern day fairy tale department and of course in the happy ending. The story was well-written and engaging, although at times it could get a bit detail heavy. I found the characters to overall be realistic, flawed and relatable. I found it refreshing to find a heroine who was both strong and weak at the same time. It was nice to see a character who didn't have it all figured out, and one who had to struggle when the "plan" didn't work out. I think there are many out there who can relate to Susanna's journey: coming from a less than solid or predictable childhood and how that effects our conscious/unconscious choices and needs as an adult. Not everyone has dealt with these issues, and they can be difficult to face even as an adult.
The story itself flowed nicely and was a nice, clean, sweet romance. I enjoyed the fairy tale elements, and the modern setting. I also really loved the detail the author used in carefully crafting the kingdom of Brighton - nice touches of different European influences to create the country/culture. The story reminded me a bit of the movie The Prince and Me, which I've always enjoyed, and definitely held elements of a retelling of Cinderella as well.
There were a few things I might have wished for this novel. One would have to be Susanna and Adam's relationship, for a couple who had been together so long - I would have preferred a little bit more of something. Of fight, or back-and-forth, not such easy acceptance I suppose since they were supposed to have been in love and together for so long. I just would have preferred the presence of more emotion around the whole issue.
Aurora was an interesting piece to the novel, I liked her and I didn't. As a "fairy godmother" type figure, it worked, but I also found so of her seemingly incoherent, "prophetic"-type moments off-putting. Overall, I probably would have found the story just as enjoyable without her presence as with. In this same vein, while I enjoyed the story overall and I do not mind Christian novels, at times it could be a bit overt and/or "preachy" which I know can be off-putting. So for those who prefer the more subtle Christian integration, might not enjoy that aspect as much.
Overall, I found the story to be a light, easy and satisfying read. I finished quickly and look forward to reading the next book in the series and finding out what becomes of Brighton.
For more Christian Romance try…
The Princess by Lori Wick
The Hawk and the Jewel by Lori Wick
The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter
For more Contemporary, Fairy-Tale-esque Romance try…
The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne
3 out of 5 Doxies - Really enjoyed it, go give it a read now!