BOOK REVIEW (1): The Prince She Never Knew

Book Review:
The Prince She Never Knew
 
Not how I pictured the heroine or the hero, but beautiful dress!
 
Okay.  Going into this one I thought the title was a cue to a classic trope: undercover lover.  Actually, I made that up.  The trope is called “Undercover Cop”.  Best example thus far, IMHO, is 21 Jump Street.
Guess who’s not making a cameo in 22 Jump Street?
Although in this case I thought the prince was going to be undercover and the heroine would be all like “what?  I can’t believe my luck!”

Then I started hoping it was a twist on the trope, and that the heroine would be a princess undercover or something along that fancy.

Turned out I was wrong on all predictions.  Phew.  Because it was SO much better.  So before I go on and on, I’ll post the summary…

While the world believes her romance with Prince Leo Diomedi, Alyse knows it’s just a calculated sham. 

Yet beneath his icy exterior, Leo’s kisses give Alyse a taste of the man behind the crown… But will their fairy tale survive the headlines threatening to rip everything apart? 

Barely gives you much, but here’s the stitch:  Prince Leo and Alyse are the perfect couple.  Lucky us we get to see past the cameras into the lives of two very flawed people.  On one hand we have Leo, the no-nonsense heir who suffers from a Hero complex (which is totally allowed where his parents basically screwed his life over and over again) and Alyse, our brilliantly hopeful heroine.  I’m a cynical person by nature so I initially didn’t understand how Alyse could swallow her not-so-happily ever after without choking and dying.

Seriously, if life handed me lemons, I’d make lemonade–but I’d also complain all while squeezing the juices out.  Or better yet I’d do this:

 

 

So yeah I was more a Leo than an Alyse.  (He’d prefer I called it “realistic” while reviewing.)  Fine, fine, Leo—moving on.
 
What we learn very quickly is that underlying classic trope here is the marriage of convenience, and though it’s quite clear why Leo’s agreed to the fake marriage (Psst!  It has something to do with his future inheritance of the throne of his kingdom), I didn’t understand at first how any of this would benefit Alyse.
 
You know aside from the wealth and fame, and possible hot prince sex and baby-making
I liked Alyse and I felt that there was more to her acceptance to an arranged marriage.  (Hint: There is.) 
 
And a side note, there is no use of the virgin trope!  Hooray!
 
For those of you who don’t know…*cough*allofyou*cough*, I abhor the virgin trope.  Specifically the innocent, virgin trope.  Simply for the fact that not all virgins are “innocent” (wth does innocent mean anyways?  Relative much?).  
 
Rant aside, although the title suggests the enigma only shrouds our hero I’d argue Alyse is as much a mystery herself.  I thought I had her figured out from page 1: “oh gee.  Here’s the little innocent virgin bride, yadda yadda” to pg. 56: “Aw.  How cute.  She wants to make the best out of the situation and be friends with Leo.” to pg. 64: “Okay.  So she’s not a virgin.  Didn’t see that one coming.” and between this point and the end I kind of gave up trying to pinpoint her.  Frame her as being a cardboard cutout.  She’s very dynamic and clearly she knew what I was trying to do.
 
But really I think the best part was nearer the end, when Leo and Alyse are outing for the first time as a married couple and he starts to freak out a bit.  Up until now he’s shown himself to be pretty suave around cameras.  Like he popped out of the womb for his first baby picture one second later…
 
Who doesn’t like vulnerable alpha heroes?
 
And with enough plot twiststhere are two specifically, and both areconnected so one follows after the other—not overwhelming the main romantic conflict, The Prince She Never Knew is an un-regrettable read! (Yes, I made up that second-to-last word.)
 
Now go out and read it!
 

Barnes & Noble

 


My verdict:
 
 
(4 stars)
 
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