Sunday, May 12, 2013

Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck

book cover
Once Upon a Prince
by Rachel Hauck

ISBN-13: 9780310315476
Trade Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: May 7, 2013

Source: Review copy from the publisher requested through

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Susanna Truitt expected to marry the man she has loved through the ups and downs of twelve years. But instead of setting a wedding date, her high-school-sweetheart-now-Marine-officer tells Susanna that he can't marry her because he's in love with someone who is more exciting.

Prince Nathaniel is taking a brief American holiday on St. Simon’s Island. He's not looking for a romance since a tense political situation has practically chosen his bride for him. Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, and he's charmed. She treats him like a normal guy, and she also seems to be the only one who really believes in him. Is God's plan for them to remain apart or will their love change a nation?

My Review:
Once Upon a Prince is a Christian romance novel. It reminded me of the movie "The Prince & Me" in some ways. Susanna is a successful career woman whose plans for her future (family and career) have gone up in smoke. She meets a prince. Nathaniel's father is dying, but Nate doesn't want to be king because of the pressure and the restrictions on his life. His island nation is similar to Britain.

Since it's a "modern prince" novel, I realized that some parts would likely stretch my suspension of disbelief, and it did, but overall it was fun. I really liked the basic plot of the story--how the prince and Susanna spent time together and that the prince had a sticky political situation to deal with. I liked how Susanna and Nathaniel built each other up and supported each other. They were much better together than separately. I liked that they honestly wanted to be available for God to use.

However, the characters didn't seem consistent with the background given to them. Susanna went from supposedly emotionally dependent on having "a plan" to basically not having a plan for the whole story. When her boyfriend told her that she didn't actually love him despite standing by him through ups and downs for twelve years, she simply accepts that he's right. I don't believe that she loved "the plan," not him, but either way she's hardly upset by the breakup. Also, it was odd that Nathaniel seemed to lack leadership ability and political confidence despite his background (growing up a crown prince, being a navel officer and then head of a communications company).

There was a lot of "they prayed" and talking about God's will for the prince's life. Though Nate and Susanna felt the presence of God when at certain locations and Susanna repeatedly surrendered her future to God, I felt like God was held at a distance and was somewhat impersonal. Susanna got some cryptic future-foretelling through a crazy prophet lady, and Nate got a "brush of God's wing on his cheek" for their guidance from God. The Christian elements flowed from the events happening in the book and didn't preach at the reader, but people who don't like "preachy" books may not like this one.

There were no sex scenes. There was a minor amount of fake bad language and one text messaging abbreviation for swearing involving "God." Overall, I'd recommend this novel to those who love fairy-tale "prince" romances.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.


Jess Ramos said...

I really loved this book. I liked that she was so stuck on having a plan but that was ripped right from under her feet and she had no choice but to depend on God.
I wrote a review on this book as well if you want to see it...

Jesus Freak Reader

Laura Fabiani said...

Sounds like a fun book maybe more suited to YA? Love the cover.

Debbie said...


If Susanna's 17-year-old sister is the heroine in the next book, it'll probably make a great YA book. This novel did read more like a YA novel in some ways, but Susanna was 29 and Nate was 32, so I'm not sure how much an actual YA would like it.

I did really enjoy the book while reading it, but something just felt "off." So I thought about it after I finished. I realized that if my "woman with a plan" mom was in Susanna's place, she would really struggle to not make lists and plans. So Susanna's history and "struggle" didn't ring true to me. It may not bother or even be noticed by readers who don't know plan-dependent people or who just want a "fantasy" prince-romance story.

Debbie said...

Jess, thanks for taking the time to make a comment. :) I'll drop by your site tomorrow--I have a lawn needing a mow and a beautiful day, so no more internet for me today!