PRINCE CHARMING by Julie Garwood


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Garwood's second foray into hardcover (after Saving Grace, 1993) is politically correct but gripping escapism of the tallest order. Naive, prim, and repressed, Englishwoman Taylor Baker is the princess every romance reader longs to be -- except that her prince, William Merritt, elopes with her mean-spirited cousin Jane. Life is further complicated by Uncle Malcolm, who has set his sights on Taylor's inheritance as well as her flesh. The only way that Taylor can evade those male-favoring inheritance laws is by making a deal with an American, Merritt's bastard brother no less, Civil War veteran and Montana rancher Lucas Ross. It's the 19th century's forerunner to the green-card marriage: Taylor pays him to marry her, which allows her to take custody of her orphaned nieces and keep her assets intact. He agrees to stay on his side of the bed and quietly divorce her on the other side of the Atlantic. But he's handsome, lovingly possessive, and, she discovers, a perfect embodiment of her romanticized notion of a mountain man. Taylor is a spunky heroine with a well-developed sense of justice, but the details of her transformation from lady of the manor to frontier homesteader are missing, as is the full figure of Lucas, who conducts vengeance killings away from the main action. Villainous Uncle Malcolm is barely sketched and quickly dispensed with at the end. Why can't Taylor fight it out with Malcolm and really show off her new competence? And how can someone as competent as Taylor (and as rich) put up with Lucas's possessiveness? How can he give up his freedom, and his passion for vengeance, so easily? How can she close her eyes to his killings? By boldly undercutting the assumptions of the genre, Garwood has revealed its unfeasible core. A good read that would be an even better movie -- and another surefire bestseller for Garwood.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1994
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Pocket Books/Paramount