Release Date: November 19, 2019
Synopsis: Nothing gets the tongues of London’s high society wagging like a good scandal. And when the personal secretary of the visiting Prince Sebastian of Alucia is found murdered, it’s all anyone can talk about, including Eliza Tricklebank. Her unapologetic gossip gazette has benefited from an anonymous tip about the crime, prompting Sebastian to take an interest in playing detective—and an even greater interest in Eliza.
With a trade deal on the line and mounting pressure to secure a noble bride, there’s nothing more salacious than a prince dallying with a commoner. Sebastian finds Eliza’s contrary manner as frustrating as it is seductive, but they’ll have to work together if they’re going to catch the culprit. And when things heat up behind closed doors, it’s the prince who’ll have to decide what comes first—his country or his heart.
A Pride and Prejudice/Cinderella-type story, The Princess Plan features as its' heroine Eliza: a spinster with a bit of a scandalous past who lives quietly at home, taking care of her blind father and living vicariously through her sister and best friend. When her friend gets Eliza into a masquerade ball, all she wants is to see the crown prince of Alucia, and maybe say hello, so that she has one shining moment in her life to remember. A few twists and turns later, she and Prince Sebastian are in love and trying to solve a murder.
Eliza is a refreshingly unconventional heroine. A spinster at 28, she has accepted her place in life and doesn't worry about her reputation, or what society thinks she should say, act, or do in any given situation, She says what she thinks and acts according to her own beliefs instead of society's. Sebastian is at first appalled, then intrigued, then fascinated by this strange woman- she offers no deference to him merely because he's a prince and doesn't bow and scrape like everyone else. When he acts like a jerk, she calls him on it- even throwing him out of her house because of his rudeness. As might be expected, the very things about Eliza that drive him crazy are what appeal to Sebastian, and they fall in love without intending to.
While you might expect the murder of Sebastian's friend and secretary to become the focus of the book, sadly the murder gets pushed to the side in order for our hero and heroine to spend the most time possible bemoaning their situation in life and their futile love. Readers, as well as Sebastian, go for chapters barely remembering that they are trying to discover a murderer and possible plot against the crown, Sebastian, when he remembers, almost doesn't care because he is so miserable about being a prince who can't marry the woman he loves. While readers might expect that from Eliza, who doesn't have the power to change anything, I was rather hoping Sebastian would grow a spine and figure out how to solve things long before he actually does. If not in regards to Eliza, at least regarding his friend's murderer, who is rather obvious.
As much as I enjoyed Eliza- a quick witted and completely natural, delightful woman- I never warmed up to Sebastian. I never felt any chemistry between them and had a hard time with how stilted and unnatural the relationship felt. We don't learn much about Sebastian's country, Alucia, the rebellions mentioned, or the trade agreements he is working so hard on with England- none of that seems to matter much and is merely background to let him be a prince, and thus, in a difficult marriage position. Julia London's writing style is light, charming, and witty, always a pleasure to read, but I had trouble staying interested in the characters and plot, and felt like it dragged a bit. I found The Princess Plan a bit of a slog to read, but I'm hoping that was just me and others will enjoy it more.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review