Once Upon a Prince is the first in a new series by Rachel Hauck called The Royal Wedding Series. This book tells the stories of Susanna Truitt from Georgia and Prince Nathaniel who lives in the fictional country of Brighton. The Prince is on vacation in St. Simons Island, Georgia when he and Susanna accidentally meet and become interested in each other. Both of their lives are very complicated and neither are willing- at first- to act on their feelings for each other. This is mostly due to the fact that it's actually against the law for a Brightonian king to marry a foreigner.
This book was very cute. Sometimes a little too cute, but it's forgiven. Any book where a woman literally meets Prince Charming is going to be a bit more cutesy than other romances. I did feel the author did a good job at keeping the story as believable as possible. The characters were also very likable. I loved that this book had a great message about not losing faith in God's Plan for you. No matter how many challenges came her way, Susanna always trusted in The Lord and relied on Him for the answers and to pull her out of the darkness. I also loved that Susanna and Nate prayed together twice during the book. I have never seen that in a Christian romance before, which now that I think of it is odd.
This book was full of great Christian inspiration, but I wanted to share a few excerpts that really touched me:
"Nate, don't you ever consider who you are and why God called you? Susanna turned to him, sitting cross-legged, touching knees to knees. "I used to climb out of my bedroom window, sit on the roof and state at the stars, thinking, 'I'm Susanna Truitt, born on St. Simons, for some purpose. I'm not an accident.'"
That quote is amazing. A great reminder. No one is an accident. We're all here for a purpose, known only to God for now.
Nate: "Let them do their worse. We did nothing wrong."
Susana: "But we gave the appearance of wrong. The people depend on you to do what's right. To put aside your own desires and will. That's just for everyday situations. But you have a political entanglement that requires you do what's right for millions of people. If you've lost their trust, you've lost them. You've lost your ability to influence. So yeah, we did do something wrong.
I love this one. It's a great allegory for how Christians have to remember that we are representatives for Christ and for other Christians around the world. People are waiting for us to do something wrong and we have a responsibility to always uphold Christian morals and values. Just like Susanna says to Nate in regards to the citizens of his country, "If you've lost their trust, you've lost them. You've lost your ability to influence." As a Christian how can we influence those who aren't Christian if we're not doing what's right?
So, those are two parts of the book that really resonated with me. I'm giving Once Upon a Prince 3 out of 5 stars. Even though I did like it and obviously loved the messages found in it's pages... there were a few thing that hold me back from giving it that extra star:
1.) I did not make an emotional connection to any of the characters. I liked the characters, yes. But, I didn't feel for them or care for them like in books that I give 4 or 5 stars or to.
2.) I feel like the book should have been a bit more tense. There was a lot of political drama, but I don't feel like the proper amount of tension and stress was reflected in the book. I understand it's a Christian fiction, so it is lighter reading, but a bit more tension would have served the book well and made it a bit more of a page-turner.
3.) As said above, for some reason it wasn't a page-turner for me. I would put it down and not really think about it. I'm not sure why this was, because the author is very talented and this was a nice romance. But, for some reason it just didn't grab me.
This book was still an enjoyable book and I do recommend it for anyone who is looking for a cute, light read. This would be great summer reading. A nice book to read on the beach or at the pool.
I received a Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Zondervan Publishers in exchange for an honest review.