A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
Bella Greenwood isn’t a fairytale girl. If pushed, she’d probably tell you that her perfect wedding would involve a handful of close friends and family. But as she’s never met anyone she’d like to marry, it’s a moot point. Until, in a midnight garden, Bella is helped out of an embarrassing situation by a tall, dark, handsome man with laughing eyes. And suddenly her life changes for ever, because the man is the world’s most eligible bachelor: Prince Richard, heir to the throne. Richard sweeps her off her feet, and before she knows it they’re engaged. Which is when Bella’s problems really begin. Suddenly she is public property, and as if it isn’t enough to have her every move watched – while also learning to curtsey and negotiating the etiquette of how to address her future mother-in-law – she soon finds herself embroiled in bridesmaid politics, a right royal hen night, and a wedding dress controversy that causes a national scandal … Can this ordinary girl survive the preparations for her very own Royal Wedding?
Yes, I admit it. I have been a complete marshmallow of the pink and white variety when it comes to the Royal Wedding (29 April 2011, in case you’ve forgotten it – how could you??). I sat myself in front of the TV at 8am that glorious morning and didn’t stir from my position – apart from essential and very speedy toilet breaks, I hasten to add – until 2pm that afternoon. I stared, I admired, I gasped, I laughed and I cried. I absolutely loved The Dress, the Middleton family, the Royals, the flowers, the hats (even the alien ones – say no more …) and of course the couple themselves. So, with this in mind, it will come as no surprise to you that I couldn’t resist picking this book up when I saw it on the Tesco shelf, though my long-suffering husband couldn’t help but groan when he unpacked it.
What can I say? The blurb tells you about four-fifths of the story but there’s no need to fret. You already know the story anyway and the fluffy scented fun of it all is in the journey to the ending we all understand is going to happen, having seen it played out for real on the London stage this springtime. So, yes, of course the book is cashing in and will probably do well, but that’s no shame. It’s why I bought it.
And it’s all very light-hearted and jolly, which is exactly what I wanted. Girl meets rich posh boy. They fall in love. The misunderstandings inevitable in romantic comedy come from those around them and their situation rather than them. They resolve them and they get married. And there you have it. Bella is perfectly pleasant (if a tad clumsy), Richard is lovely (if a tad Royal, aka distant, on occasion), and it’s all hearts and flowers till the finale. If you’re in the mood (which I definitely was), it’s good stuff and well written, on the whole. I particularly enjoyed the issue of Bella coping with the royal rules, regulations and security matters as I found that fascinating in a gossipy way.
Negative points for me included Bella and Richard falling instantly in love and starting going out which I thought was unrealistic. They were engaged within three months (no “Waity Katy” about our Bella, eh …) whereas I thought there should have been more mileage to the whole “would they, wouldn’t they go out” question. The best friend scenario was wasted and I felt Lottie should have had more page time, as should Bella’s rampantly republican father who sadly only actually appears at the end and steals the show completely. He was great and I wish he’d arrived back from his expedition earlier. I also thought the end itself was rather scrappy and the whole plot with the Evil Blogger frankly ridiculous. We didn’t need it, and it did make Richard look silly. Plus the book itself ended rather too soon and didn’t give us the closure we wanted at any level so I felt rather short-changed. All it needed was another twenty pages or so and it would have been perfectly satisfactory.
However, it’s a fun read and definitely one to keep you going if you’re in mourning for the strange lack of Royal Weddings for the foreseeable future. Buy yourself a copy and hang that bunting out.
To Marry a Prince, Arrow Books 2011, ISBN: 978 0 09 956045 6
Also available as an ebook
[Anne has obviously succumbed to Royal Wedding fever in a big way and her choice of this book proves it. She’s still looking for a Kate & Wills teatowel and mug …]