Before I start my review, I would like to thank NetGalley and Kensington Books for allowing me to review My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly.
**All opinions stated in this review are mine and mine alone. I received My Fair Princess from NetGalley through Kensington Books as an ARC for free for my honest and unbiased review**
Now, onto my review:
Format read in: Kindle
Author: Vanessa Kelly
Publisher: Kensington Books
Date of Publication: August 30th 2016
Where the book can be found:
Number of pages: 352
Part of a series? Yes
What series? The Improper Princesses
My Fair Princess – Book 1
Book synopsis (via Goodreads):
Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is happily ignorant of all social graces. After growing up wild in Italy, Gillian has been ordered home to England to find a suitable husband. And Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton, has agreed to help transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante.
Powerful and sophisticated, Charles can make or break reputations with a well-placed word. But his new protégée, with her habit of hunting bandits and punching earls, is a walking scandal. The ton is aghast . . . but Charles is thoroughly intrigued. Tasked with taking the hoyden in hand, he longs to take her in his arms instead. Can such an outrageous attraction possibly lead to a fairytale ending?
I have mentioned in other reviews that I am a huge fan of historical romance/fiction. I love to be able to immerse myself and pretend , for a little while, that I am in 1816 England. Something about that time period fascinates me to no end. So when I got My Fair Princess to review, I was very excited about reading it.
For the most part, the book lived up to the internal hype in my mind. The author was spot on with the sayings, with the attitudes of the ton, the rigid rules that society lived by and the way they dressed. It is amazing what was considered awful and life ending back in that society is barely frowned upon today.
Miss Gillian Dryden is a prime example of what I stated above. She is the illegitimate daughter of the Prince of England. Her mother had made a bad decision in the throes of grief, slept with the Prince of England, got pregnant and decided to keep the baby. It didn’t matter that she got married to an Italian count….the stain of what she did follows Gillian around.
I actually liked Gillian’s character, a lot. She was spunky, outspoken (which totally worked against her in some scenes) and she was very socially unpolished. Even though her mother was a Contessa and her stepfather a Count, she wasn’t brought into Italian society because of her birth. So she didn’t have the social graces that most girls of that time period did and I loved it. It was very refreshing to read her scenes because she spoke plainly and she jumped to the defense of her friends.
But there was a downside to her character that I didn’t like. She was beyond stubborn and didn’t listen to reason (or Duke Leverton). She took risks that put people and herself in danger. But it did make for an interesting read.
The Duke of Leverton (or Charles Valentine Penley). Oh where to I begin with him. He has an iron facade and nothing got to him…except Gillian. To see his facade starting to crack and then for him to actually not be “Perfect Penley” was great.
I wish I could say that the rest of the story was as great as those characters. There was some promise when Gillian met Letitia and her husband but that petered out. I mean, she gets a couple of bad nicknames (Doxy Duchess was one) and they all decide to vacation in the summer. I would have loved to see that triangle work its way out. Even the subplot of the smugglers were eh. I kinda figured out who was helping them about halfway through the book.
The ending was really cute and I loved the epilogue.
How many stars will I give My Fair Princess? 3
Why? I loved that it was a historical romance and the author definitely did her research for the time period. The story just didn’t jive, storylines were left up in the air (the Letitia/Gillian/Charles/Letitia’s husband one) and I was left feeling very “Eh” at the ending….as cute as it was.
Will I reread it? Yes
Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes
Age Range? Adult
Why? Lots of sex and some mild violence.