Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck
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Publishing Date: February 4, 2014
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Buy a Kindle copy today !Regina Beswick was born to be a princess. But she's content to be a small-town girl, running a classic auto restoration shop, unaware a secret destiny awaits her. One that will leap from the pages of her grandmother's hand-painted book of fairytales. Tanner Burkhardt is the stoic Minister of Culture for the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg. When he is tasked to retrieve the long-lost princess, he must overcome his fear of failure in order to secure his nation's future---and his own. Yet lurking in the political shadows is a fierce opponent with sinister plans to abolish the throne forever. Overwhelmed with opposition, Regina must decide if she's destined to restore old cars or an ancient nation. Together---with a little divine intervention---Regina and Tanner discover the truth of her heritage and the healing power of true love
I finally got my hands on the book I referenced in this Just a Thought post. I am sad that I don't have it in a physical copy to match book one of the series, but may just yet convince myself to go buy it. Especially since it is so pretty :)
"Princess Ever After" is a little weaker than it's predecessor, which I didn't review here on Sunrise Avenue, but heads up: I loved it. Still, it is a dreamy, romantic, princess read. Honestly? It reminded me a lot of the Princess Diaries movie. Regina, or Reggie, is the quintessential girl next door. She grew up in the South, loves cars and racing, and is the life of the party. Along comes handsome Tanner with some astonishing news: Reggie is the long-lost princess of Hessenberg and the country needs her help to restore their independence. Of course she is torn; should she leave everything and everyone she knows to accept her inheritance or let Hessenberg fend for itself.
I felt like I knew what Reggie's choice would be right from the beginning. Not just because it is the nature of the book, but because she herself seemed to accept it a lot easier than I expected. Of course she resisted a little bit, but she did it in such a way that it felt like even Reggie knew her ultimate choice. Because of this odd disconnect with herself, I also felt oddly disconnected to Reggie. Tanner on the other hand?? Yup, love him. He is smart, romantic, caring, and so respectful. Move aside Reggie...
Reggie and Tanner together? It is an odd combination. Their romance is one of the things I disliked about the book. Perhaps I would have appreciated it more if the author had been given more space to flesh it out. But trying to start a relationship while discovering your heritage, a new country, a new people and way of life, saying goodbye to everything you've ever known...yeah. Romance would be the last thing on anyone's mind. Sure, romantic interest, but Tanner and Reggie's relationship just progressed too quickly in the situation for me to believe.
Perhaps I am nitpicking or perhaps I am comparing it to the first book too much, but these 'little' things were so noticeable to me. And while I still loved the story, I really wish the author had been given more space and time to flesh things out. What I do like? Hauck's writing. She manages to create a whole country, people, and history flawlessly. Hauck takes a whole fictional world and seamlessly integrates into reality. I found myself frequently believing Hessenberg and her problems were real!
"Princess Ever After" is still a great fairy tale-esque story that speaks volumes to the little girl in me. And while I didn't experience smooth sailing, it is a book and series I could easily recommend to any reader who loves fairy tales, happy endings, and Princess Diaries. I gave book one 5 stars, but I am giving book two 4 stars. Can't wait to see what Hauck will do with her next installment!