by Rebecca Hagan Lee, historical (2002)
Jove, $6.99, ISBN 0-515-13250-0
This story can be summed up in three sentences.
Girly princess loses kingdom to traitorous cousin. Girly princess klutzes it up as the Liberty/Equality/Fraternity sprouting American hero's maid (her brilliant disguise). Girly princess wins back kingdom and rules happily ever after with her American hubby. End.
How do I judge this book? I loathe the heroine, Princess Georgiana "Giana" Victoria Elizabeth Dingbat Dumdum Dumbabore May of Saxe-Wallerstein-Karolya, with the intensity of a million suns and the venom of a kazillion Australian coral snake. I like the hero, Adam McKendrick. Fun and Dunce cancels out each other, and when I factor the horrendously off attempt at humor as opposed to the seriousness of the plot, Ever A Princess is a failure in every sense of the word.
Yes, Giana hides out in a lodge in Scotland as she and her loyal assistant and her small staff... uh, I'm sure they are thinking of a coup. They have to be, because I'm sure a princess and her entourage, having fled from the traitors in her country, will want a counterattack. Sure, Giana says a lot about how much she will oust her traitorous cousin and make everything right again, but I am really sure she and her men are doing something. Even if the author isn't showing that they are doing anything. Except Giana's klutzy attempts at housework, which I'm supposed to laugh at because oh, a heroine who cannot do laundry is so-ooo-ooo-ooo hilarious. I tell you, I swear my liver has swollen to gigantic proportions after this book.
On the other hand, gorgeous Adam McKendrick wins a lodge in Scotland in a card game. An American fleeing his hometown because - take a deep breath, people - someone has written two dime novels about him. Adam is now thought to be the Protector of Blonde Womenkind, Lone Ranger of Estrogenia, savior of blonde damsels in distress, and women are throwing at him left and right, both blondes and fake blondes. All he wants is peace and quiet, and he finds that hoity-toity Giana leading his staff at his new lodge. Eh?
Memo to Giana: if you are disguising yourself as a maid, please remember that maids are not treated like princesses, and it will not do to throw temper tantrums like a 10-year old when Adam calls you George. My love for Adam multiplies by folds when he calls her George, by the way. And more memo to Giana: inability to do simple things like laundry, which is, unlike cooking, isn't that hard only proves what a moron you are. Another memo: please stop pouting and acting like a petulant Miss Thing, thanks, before I take the meat cleaver to your whiny sad ass.
Every time the author cranks up Giana's "Ooooh! He vexes me when he treats me like a spoiled brat pest!" and "Oops! I burned the lodge down! Ain't me cute? Hee hee hee!" antics, I want to kill myself. Or kill someone, I don't know. And when this slapstick dumb/dumber/dumbest/aaaah thing is so at odds with the whole betrayal/my-parents-are-murdered thing, the whole setting of Ever A Princess feels so wrong.
A pity about Adam: he is a really nice guy with little baggages, and even if he doesn't want to hear it, he is a protector of blonde airheads.
But in the end, Giana gets back her country, her people all hail her as the new Wise and Majestic Queen, and I know why there is no country called Saxe-Wallerstein-Karolya today. If you listen closely, you may still hear Queen Giana's bewildered "But really, what's wrong with them eating happy, funny cakes?", right before they toss her over the cliff.
Ms Lee should stop idolizing dumb princess fairy tales so much. Even Marie Antoinette (or Princess Diana, if you will) at her most vapid displays a clear measure of intelligence. If Giana has any, it's probably flushed down and away the first time she uses a potty.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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