Sara’s Review of My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly


I’d like to extend my thanks not only to Tasty Book Tour for letting me participate in this event, but also to Kensington – Zebra for providing a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review, murr! To see all of the blogs involved in this tour, please click on the banner above!

My Fair Princess_Cover

Rating: paw3

Publisher: Kensington – Zebra

Date Published: August 30, 2016

Series: The Improper Princesses #1

Goodreads Description:

First, Vanessa Kelly brought readers The Renegade Royals. Now, in a delightfully witty new series, she introduces The Improper Princesses—three young women descended from royalty, each bound for her own thrilling adventure . . .

Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is happily ignorant of all social graces. After growing up wild in Italy, Gillian has been ordered home to England to find a suitable husband. And Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton, has agreed to help transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante.

Powerful and sophisticated, Charles can make or break reputations with a well-placed word. But his new protégée, with her habit of hunting bandits and punching earls, is a walking scandal. The ton is aghast . . . but Charles is thoroughly intrigued. Tasked with taking the hoyden in hand, he longs to take her in his arms instead. Can such an outrageous attraction possibly lead to a fairytale ending?

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This is the first I’ve read of Kelly’s titles, but I can promise it won’t be the last. I enjoyed Gillian and Charles’s tale quite a bit, and while there were a few things that kept me from loving this book, I definitely would recommend that fans of Kelly’s other series or fans of Historical Romance give this a try.

Gillian is an outstanding character. I love that she doesn’t behave like a “proper lady,” that she’s not afraid to standup for herself and fight for what she believes in, and most especially that she knows how to take care of herself. She’s stubborn, strong, intelligent, exasperating at times, and absolutely brilliant. There’s no question that I found her to be my favorite character in the entire book! Charles, on the other paw, bounced between being a character that I liked and one that I wanted to throttle because of his inability to see that Gillian was fine just as she was. I understood his desire to be guarded, to avoid gossip and scandal, and to want to provide Gillian security in the haughty world of the ton, but there were times when his behavior irked me to no end. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t acknowledge her wants and wishes, or take the time to consider things from her perspective. Instead he had to insist that she completely change who she was in order to fit in with society. Personally, I prefer those who dance on society’s edges, which is why I greatly enjoyed the bad influence Gillian had on Charles toward the end of the book. Heehee.

In many aspects, Gillian and Charles’s relationship is a complicated one. There’s dislike and frustration at the start, but over time they start to come to an understanding and their desire becomes rather steamy. I think the only problem I had with their relationship was that Charles just automatically assumes that Gillian will agree to marry him after certain events occur between them. He never properly proposes to her, he just states that they will wed, which left my fur bristling in frustration for the remaining third of the book. And again, this frustration came more from the fact that there’s this “need” if you will for Gillian to change who she is in order to be respectable and therefore must conform and accept Charles’s opinions rather than be allowed to have a say in what happens with her life. Now some may feel that I might be a bit nit picky with this, and I do think that I’m in the minority when it comes to having some qualms here, but would it really have been so hard for him to have asked her if she marry him? Really?

In regards to the plot, this is where I had the biggest problem and that’s because the conflict wasn’t what I initially thought it was going to be. It was a bit at odds with the synopsis, and because I don’t want to spoil the book for readers, it is rather difficult for me to fully explain what I mean by this. I guess the best way to put it is, this is more than just a transformation of a tomboy into a debutante story. There’s a shift in focus halfway through the book which circles back to our initial introduction to Gillian, and this focus runs parallel and actually overshadows the transformation part of the story toward the end. This wouldn’t have stood out for me as much as it did if it wasn’t for the fact that the change in focus actually caused the story to lag thereby making it feel like Kelly had lost her way with the plot. And because there is this shift, I didn’t feel like the initial problem that Kelly set up was cleanly resolved. Now please don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the bulk of story, frustration over Charles’s assumptions aside, I just had difficulty switching directions where the plot was concerned.

Overall, this is a good start to what feels like a promising series. I am looking forward to seeing who Kelly chooses to focus on in the next installment, and I definitely plan on reading her Renegade Royals series, and not just because one of the books focuses on Gillian’s brother, Griffin, murr!

About the Author:


Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her current series, The Renegade Royals is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes.

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Posted on September 1, 2016, in Book Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Great review! Thank you for hosting MY FAIR PRINCESS today!

    Crystal, Tasty Book Tours