31 March 2011
Book Review: To Marry A Prince by Sophie Page
Sophie Page is the pen-name of RNA author Jenny Haddon, and it is the first book she has published under this name. To be honest, when I first saw the cover of this book, I wasn't instantly enamoured with it, I thought it looked a bit old-fashioned and not something that would interest me, but luckily the plot totally sold it to me more than anything else. It is obviously based on the upcoming Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and is the second such book based on it to be released recently! I was really excited to give it a go, and so eagerly began to read.
The book begins with Bella Greenwood not knowing Prince Richard at all. In fact, she's left a bit bereft after her return from her travels and finding herself with nowhere to live after her parents say they're too busy to put their daughter up. I really did like Bella right from the start - she's a very normal and believable character, she wants to work hard and is really close to her best friend Charlotte (Lottie). Because of her travels, its very plausible that she doesn't know who Prince Richard is properly but I'd like to think if I bumped into Prince William at a party, drunk or not, I'd be very aware of who he was! Either way, it does make the story a little more fairy-tale like.
As well as Bella being a lovely character, I really liked Prince Richard all the way through the book. Page puts across really well how Richard's conflicting emotions about being a Royal and the heir to the throne conflicts with his own personal feelings towards Bella, especially as she isn't from his world, and how he wants to protect her from his less-than-private public life. There were times he wasn't too nice but again it is understandable in the context of the story, and I liked that their relationship wasn't perfect 100% of the time, it certainly made for more realistic reading. Lottie, Bella's best friend, was another good character - it's important for writers to get female friendships right and Page certainly has with the girls' friendship in this book. We all need a considerate best friend like Lottie!
While the book starts with Bella not knowing Prince Richard, we don't actually get to see the Royal Wedding at all, this book is rather more about the relationship between Bella and Prince Richard, and the complexities of the engagement and forthcoming nuptials. I feel it was a good idea not to include the wedding as it may not have lived up to the readers expectations after such a build-up, and I think the book covers enough really. I felt really sorry for Bella, she struggles a lot with the public feeling towards her and how her whole life changes in a millisecond. It certainly made me spare a thought for Kate Middleton and the changes she must be going through to prepare for being a Princess and eventual Queen! Page seems to tap into Bella's mind and feelings really well, and I feel the third person narrative worked well.
I really enjoyed every page of this book, and read it in just a day because I couldn't put it down! Despite my initial reservations about the cover, I was soon drawn in by a good cast of characters, a likeable leading lady and a story that compels you to keep reading on. I was completely swept up into Bella's world every time I picked up the book, and I did not want to stop reading about hers and Richard's love story. Page's writing is very easy to read - the book is quite light reading and not taxing, but that doesn't seem to matter, the story is just very enjoyable and I honestly loved it. It's believable (especially with current events in the real world!), it's charming and it's a lovely love story - maybe fairytale's do happen after all.