THE PRINCE AND I by Rosemarie Buschow

THE PRINCE AND I

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Forget about Yul Brynner: the prince in Rosemarie Buschow's life was her infant charge ""Susu,"" son of Saudi Arabian Princess Moudi and nephew of King Khalid. But if this isn't a tale of romance, neither is it just servants' tattle on the oil-rich Arabs. German-born Rosemarie's lover of many years had died and, eager to leave London, she'd registered with International Nannies Limited. (The one thing unexplained is her obvious competence to take care of a baby.) Then--contract duly notarized, return ticket in hand (""practical proof of my stubborn will"")--she was off on the plane to Riyadh. She'd never get the ""private living quarters"" that the contract stipulated; her promised weekly day off would become a blessed daily break at the Al Yamana Hotel pool; but her stubborn will was to be her shield and sword. The Princess had hired a Western nanny, so Susu would be raised like a Western baby. Out went the quilts, the swaddling, the heavy scent. Away went constant feedings (""Babies are supposed to cry,"" she'd insist) and midnight nursery levees. But elsewhere in the women's palace, chaos reigned. Amid the utmost luxury, it was impossible to have a washing machine properly installed (Rosemarie had to stop it at the spin cycle, then wring out the diapers by hand). With nothing to do all day, the royal women slept--then, in evening dress, watched video-cassette films till dawn. Rosemarie doesn't tut-tut. Attached to little Susu, quite able to stand up to glamorous, wheedling Princess Moudi and to appreciate how little the women have to aspire to, she observes the Arabs and the oddball Western residents impartially--until Moudi's gay, impetuous young niece Mishaal (whose unfaithful husband won't give her a divorce) tries to run away with her lover and, caught, is publicly stoned to death. Then it's time for Rosemarie to leave Susu, reluctantly, and go home. No deep revelations, but a moderately involving, totally unclichÉd entrÉe into a very alien world.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1981
Publisher: Doubleday