Saturday, August 17, 2013

Book Review: The Wild Princess by Mary Hart Perry

Some day my prince will come is the dream of every young girl. But only the daughter of a queen can really hope to marry a prince. So it is all the more disheartening when the book about the wild princess, Louise, starts off with a major disappointment for this young woman, who had such high hopes of marriage and tried her best to make her new husband as good a wife as possible. 

What starts off as a definite disappointment may actually turn out to be a win for Louise. Because with the marriage not living up to expectations, Louise is seeking fulfillment in other places. She preserves her independent streak by not conforming to the stereotype of the demure wife and thinking for herself, which makes her definitely wild and impossibly to control by the standards of the Victorian Age. Along the way she meets Stephen, a secret agent from the USA that was ordered to England to protect the Queen’s family against murder plots originating by individuals seeking independence for Ireland. 

This encounter gives rise to the two major plotlines of the book. One plot is the romance between Louise and Stephen that, as one can imagine, can never be in the open and takes them to places throughout Europe. The second story is the threat to the Queen and her family by Irish separatists. The balance between these plots prevents "The Wild Princess" from becoming a simple love story between a royal and a commoner and also generates enough romantic interest to prevent the book from becoming a simple historical novel about the Irish Separatist movement. I really enjoyed the balance between the plots because it causes the tempo to just sufficiently alternate between romantic slow pace and historical adventure speed to keep the readers on their toes. 

The ending is quite predictable, but along the lines there are enough surprises and thrills to keep the reader engaged and entertained. I did not want to give the book five stars because I could guess some of the twists and turns, but other than that minor issue, the book is an excellent read. Ms. Perry understands to draw complex characters and generate complex plot lines that remain clear and concisely organized, never turning confusing or leaving the reader wondering. I like the vivid description of the Victorian Age and its expectations of the perfect woman and wife. While Louise may have been considered wild by many, her independence streak is still in line with Victorian mores and this main character is drawn in a way that is still behaved enough to make her behavior plausible for a strong-willed woman of that time.

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