ROMANCE

The Princess Plan

HQN: Harlequin. (Royal Wedding, Bk. 1). Nov. 2019. 400p. ISBN 9781335041531. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488054273. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
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A caretaker to her blind father, Eliza Tricklebank is not used to being noticed. Still, she longs for adventure, which is why she is delighted to find herself attending a ball held in honor of Sebastian, the Crown Prince of Alucia (a fictional European country). Gossip has it that Sebastian is looking for an English wife, and though Eliza knows she’s hardly princess material, she can’t pass up the chance to meet a real prince. Their first meeting, however, does not go well: she is drunk on rum punch, and he accidentally steps on her foot on the way to a rendezvous with another woman. The same night, Sebastian’s trusted secretary is murdered. Contrived circumstances lead Sebastian to call on Eliza and ultimately ask for her help in solving the murder. Although they continue to be rude to each other well into the novel, their feelings change once the crime-solving gets underway. The hero’s unkindness toward the heroine in the book’s beginning was problematic for this reviewer, and while he does come around, it’s too little, too late.
VERDICT A surprisingly uneven entry from the best-selling London (The Trouble with Honor). While some readers will love the Victorian commoner-meets-royalty fairy-tale plot, others may find the romance between these two mismatched characters remains unconvincing.

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