Rating: 4 Stars
~ ~ ~Review: "Once Upon a Prince" takes readers into a modern fairy tale, complete with royalty, castles, balls, and romance. Hauck offers the feel-good elements of a fairy tale while layering them with realistic issues. While their feelings are mutual, the path to love is neither smooth nor direct for the two main characters, Susanna and Nathaniel. Though a happily-ever-after ending is expected, the question that drives the plot is how can such an ending be achieved. Susanna carries baggage from a past relationship, and Nathaniel faces political pressures.
"Once Upon a Prince" was a quick and overall pleasing read, but the political details slowed the plot in some areas. The political situation is a major hindrance to a future relationship between Nathaniel and Susanna, and it adds tension to the plot. Nathaniel's character is developed as he struggles to find a balance between duty to his country and the desires of his heart. The political background became dull for me midway through the novel, but it was balanced by more interesting scenes.
I always enjoy Hauck's southern settings, and Susanna's hometown of St. Simon's Island is no exception. Hauck portrays the charm and tranquility that is synonymous with southern seaside towns. Nathaniel's home in the kingdom of Brighton is a stark contrast to St. Simon's. Hauck's descriptions bring the fictional nation to life, from the festive streets of the capital, to the large castle, and the glittering balls. I enjoyed watching Susanna take in the grandeur of Brighton and meet Nathaniel's royal family. She is just an average girl, like most readers; so her reactions, emotions, and doubts are very relatable. Some of my favorite scenes of the novel took place in beautiful county of Brighton, but I was also intrigued by the scenes set in St. Simon's.
"Once Upon a Prince" is built around the classic scenario of an ordinary girl falling in love with a dashing prince. Rachel Hauck gives the fairy tale a fresh spin with interesting new elements. I am definitely looking forward to reading the future books in the Royal Wedding series and revisiting some of the characters introduced in this novel.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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.”
Summary from Zondervan: "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?