Review: Susanna Truitt likes plans. She’s not a spontaneous person and is such a planner that she’s religiously stuck with a 12-year plan; one that should have ended with her high school, marine boyfriend asking, will you marry me? Instead he proposes a break-up, leaving Susanna without a plan B. Now she’s nearing thirty, living in the home of her best friend’s aunt and working at her parent’s rib shack restaurant while she attempts to start her fledging landscape architect career. What’s a girl to do? The most natural response is to meet a prince, of course! That’s when Nate Kenneth walks into her life. He is the one hitch in Susanna’s life… and as it turns out, he may be the one person who can change everything.
Heavens! Where to start bringing thoughts to order on the first novel of Rachel’s all-new series, ‘Once Upon a Prince.’ I’d set myself up for a deliciously entertaining read which oftentimes can be a detriment but there were no signs of anything “bad” coming up in the book about halfway through and already I’d given this one a 5-star rating. Turns out, that was warranted. Anyone who knows me knows I am the girl who craves the happily-ever-after and despises the story-teller who breaks my heart; I crave elegant simplicity and sweetness inside the pages of the stories that occupy my time. This and oh-so-much more does Rachel capture in a package that’s as pretty on the outside as it is on the inside. I was enchanted by it. Susanna was the girl-next-door and special despite her misguided calculations about Adam – I couldn’t be too hard on her. It was an honest mistake and she wasn’t the only one in that relationship at fault. Then, in waltzes the dashing Nate. OH. MY. GOSH. I love this hero. He was noble, exceptional and not at all the kind of chap one may envision when concocting an image of royalty.
To be fair and taper my gushing (momentarily), I should point out that, as a leading man (have we established that Nate is a prince!?) Nate doesn’t necessarily sweep us or Susanna off her feet by whisking her away and by proxy make the reader swoon, rather it’s his character – how he comports himself (how he respects Susanna) and oh, that accent! I am telling you, girls, his accent practically rolls off the page and fills us with a sense of authenticity, as if we can literally hear him speak. Whether it’s his affectionate terms of endearment for Susanna (he calls her “love,” peeps!) – proof that the physical struggle in relationships isn’t everything – or confronting his mother over tea, I adored him and the way he handled himself; he makes British “stuffy” very appealing. His eventual choice and the reasons he fights to see it to reality are moving as are the sweet moments of serendipity woven into the story with realistic and ordinary moments to counteract the fairy-tale. I felt like Susanna’s 180 personality switch (going from girl-with-a-plan to girl-who-lives-in-the-moment) completely believable, same as with the story itself.
True, the careful prose has beautiful elements of brilliance in all its fairy-tale nooks (there’s an opulent ball), and yet at the center is a mature plot alive in the spiritual relationship both Nate and Susanna have with their Savior. Something neither of them takes for granted. It’s quite obvious the role faith plays in both their lives. As a reader, I did feel like the romance took priority of the story – leastwise, at the surface. In actuality, it is that strength of faith that keeps them both from doing what’s easy. Both learn a deeper definition of one of life’s greatest challenges: how to trust.
Conclusion: Every reader differs in their preferences. This book was exactly my cup of tea; sweet and light with aromatic hints of tasty flavors. The story flows well starting out with a love-at-first-sight scenario and ending in a bubble of fairy-tale happiness. Because we each have our own opinions of what makes a story good, not everyone may find a jewel in Once Upon a Prince. I did and then some. It was pure pleasure reading with a special kind of heart that too many novels skim or forget completely. There was charm, classic romance plus a delightful grouping of characters – including but not limited to Colin and Avery, whom I am wishing fervently will be a part of future stories. Susanna and Nate have been added to my list of memorable couples – and I do believe they are there to stay. ‘Prince’ is one royal adventure not to be missed; add it to your summer reading list.
Coming Next: the next book, Princess Ever After, a title brainstormed by my Facebook Page fans, (thank you!) introduces an American girl who is a long lost princess. Her country is mentioned in book one, Once Upon A Prince, but we don’t really meet Regina until this book. I loved this book when I finished writing it. So, I hope readers do too. – Rachel Hauck
Synopsis: Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess—just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.
The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon’s Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family’s tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he is blindsided by love.
Their lives are worlds apart. He’s a royal prince. She’s an ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation.
It’s the ultimate choice. His kingdom or her heart? God’s will or their own?
With thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book for reviewing purposes