Princess Ever After (The Royal Wedding series #2) by Rachel Hauck
Reggie Beswick, proud southern belle of Tallahassee, Florida, was not, on the surface, princess material. She was independent to a fault, honest and forthright. She didn’t hold back if she had something on her mind. And more than anything besides her family, she loved antique cars. After a traditional college education and several years as a CPA at a local firm, she risked it all to begin her dream venture, opening a classic car renovation business with her friends Al, Wally and Rafe. Just as her first successful restoration project was accomplished, Tanner Burkhardt showed up and pulled the rug out from under her safe, happy world.
Tanner was the Minister of Culture of the tiny North Sea island nation of Hessenberg. He brought with him records and documents that he used to prove to her that Reggie’s great grandmother, whom her family fondly called Gram, was none other than Princess Alice of the house of Augustine-Saxon, heir to the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg. Gram was a princess? How did the family not know that? Reggie had spent a lot of time with Gram as a little girl since her great- grandmother lived to nearly 100, while her grandmother and mother had died while she was still a young girl. Why hadn’t she said anything about this?
Tanner pressed on with his mission to explain that she, Reggie, was now Princess Regina Alice Beswick, inheritor of the tiny island country of Hessenberg. And, above and beyond that, she was needed to assist her country in obtaining its independence from the nearby country of Brighton. All this sounded just too fanciful to be true. Tanner had his work cut out for him trying to convince her his claims were genuine. Finally Reggie, with the encouragement of her co-workers and her family decided to travel with Tanner to the island to investigate for herself.
Once she arrived in Hessenberg and was established in Meadowbluff Palace, which matched pictures in a book her Gram had created for her decades ago, reality set in. The Press was real. The Palace was real. And she had an enemy in state already, the Governor of Hessenberg. The country was divided over the decision to remain a Province of Brighton or become a sovereign nation of its own. Things were more complicated than she realized they could be. So many times she was tempted to run home and bury herself in the business she had to leave behind. She might have done that if Tanner hadn’t become a tower of strength and support. When sparks ignited between them, she was eventually convinced she really was where God wanted her to be. But would the people accept her?
This modern fairy tale was such a fun book to read. The differences between the down home Reggie and the straight-laced uptight Tanner made their growing attraction for each other amusing and endearing to watch. Sometimes the circumstances Reggie finds herself in seem a little far-fetched; but then, it is a fairy tale type story so it seems fitting although pretty much predictable.
Many of the supporting characters were heartwarming, especially Reggie’s dad, her step-mom, and the co-owner of the renovation business, Al. This is the second book I’ve by this author in this series, and I believe Ms. Hauck has a talent for writing believable guiding lights that appear in the main characters’ lives. Even Tanner’s father fits into this category.
Another interesting element is that the classic car motif appears at the end in full circle to help solve a mystery that is of the main plot. That’s all I will say about that. You’ll have to read the story for yourself to learn the significance it has.
What the author does need to work on is dialogue, especially between the main characters. In some places the conversation becomes a bit forced, unnatural and a little off center. It’s not very obvious unless you are looking for it. Sometimes I think it is difficult for authors to portray a character they have become fond of in their less than sterling qualities, even if it is for a short amount of time before that character begins their journey of maturity and growth.
However, overall, this book makes a delightful light read. I would recommend this to my friends.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Zondervan Fiction. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed 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.”