A grieving American teen falls for the heir to the British throne.
Fifteen-year-old Saskia has lived in Cornwall with her artist uncle since her mother died a few months ago. When she sees an old gray horse in a pasture, she goes toward it and bumps into a boy her age named Alex. Clearly privileged, Alex has done a bunk from boarding school upon learning of his parents' plans for divorce; though the establishment is unhappy with him, Alex is allowed to stay with his grandmother in Cornwall until the furor dies down. Neither readers nor Sass understand at first that Alex is the only child of the current Prince of Wales, second in line to the throne. He teaches Sass to ride, enjoying a relationship stripped of royal complications, until another girl sets up a press hunt that airs the details of Sass' mother's death. Hickman's debut bounces between narrative characters—not only Sass and Alex, but also Plum, the vengeful friend; Cressida, a journalist; the Countess of Trist; and a stable hand (whose lower-class voice presents the only hint of diversity in the book). The writing's smooth, but the surplus narrators end up splintering the focus of the story. Sometimes it's about noblesse oblige, other times horses, other times young love or teenage jealousy. It ends with a moment of high adventure that fails to provide resolution.
Sweet, horsey, and inconsistent. (Fiction. 12-16)