Dean’s (Palace Circle, 2009) Golden Prince of Wales makes a romantic run at British court intrigue.
Rose, the auburn-tressed eldest Houghton girl, has a cute meet with the Prince of Wales. Driving home from Dartmouth with his disapproving equerry, the future king, whose family calls him “David,” takes a curve and accidentally knocks suffragette Rose off her bike. She’s the daughter of nobility who, along with her three sisters, lives at nearby Snowberry, a beautiful estate not far from the Prince’s university. The Prince takes her home and meets her three sisters: Iris, with her brown hair and crush on the boy next door, is the plainest of the three; Marigold, a titian-haired beauty, has few morals and a penchant for scandal; and the youngest sister, Lily, is an enchanting girl with blue-black ringlets. Lily is guileless and gifted with the ability to make every man who meets her fall in love with her. David finds immense joy in escaping his rigid palace life, where he is overwhelmed by the duties of his office. He falls for Lily and schemes to spend more time with her. When he proposes and she accepts, he runs up against immovable opposition in the form of his parents, the reining King George and Queen Mary. But David is determined to overcome their objections and sets out to do so. Based loosely on the life of the Duke of Windsor, who ruled as king for less than a year before abdicating his throne to marry a twice-divorced American, Dean offers an interesting glimpse into court life right after the turn of the previous century, but often the details overwhelm the story. Every item of clothing worn by the sisters is minutely described, as are their physical attributes. The writing itself is uninspired and cliché-ridden.
Although classified as historical fiction, this book is really a romance dressed in period clothes, and readers of the first genre may find the flashing eyes, deep kisses and heaving bosoms tiresome after awhile.