Find it on bookdepository here.
When I was about 18, I went through an intense historical fiction phase. It was all I read and I thought they were the only books I could enjoy. Then I discovered YA and got distracted by so many other books I could read.
But my 2015 resolution is to pick up more historical fiction novels because they always surprise me with how much I love them. Unfortunately, The Golden Prince might not have been the right book to start with.
Starting this review, I must admit that I know almost nothing about prince Edward or the life he had, so I can't comment on the historical accuracy of this particular story. If you are looking for details about this, I suggest you go to the goodreads page, because a lot of reviewers do focus on this.
It’s 1912, and seventeen-year-old Prince Edward, England’s Golden Prince of Wales, is feeling the burden of his position. As heir to the greatest throne in the world, he hates the constrictions and superficial demands of his royal life. His father, King George, is a harsh disciplinarian, and his mother, Queen Mary, is reserved and cold. Other than his siblings, he has no friends and despairs at his isolation and loneliness.
However, when unexpected circumstances bring him to Snowberry Manor, home of the four Houghton sisters, his life suddenly seems more interesting. As he secretly spends more time with Lily, the youngest of the girls, he finds himself falling hopelessly in love.
But Lily is not royal, and a thousand years of precedent insist that future Queens of England are of royal blood. Worse, King George reveals he already has a princess in line for Edward to marry. Will the strength of their love be enough or will destiny tear them apart?
A plot as slow as the typical 1912's country day
I loved the idea of a prince meeting a normal girl and falling in love with her - it is basically the premise of all my favourite Disney movies. But with this story, the writing just really let me down. The story was sooooo slow at the beginning. There were six characters introduced and alternating between each one for different events meant that some things just dragged on far too long. I respect authors who try the multiple point of views, but when it slows the story down like this, it just isn't worth it.
The story started to get more interested about 200 pages in. You know the characters, you know their background, and events can really start happening. That last third of the book was gold, but you do have to struggle through 200 pages to get there.
The Houghton girls
Though the summary makes it sound like it's a love story, I warn you to not be fooled. The love story is only part of the story. The narration switches between Edward and Lily (whose main focus is their love for each other), but also between Rose, Marigold and Iris who are Lily's sisters and all have very different lives.
While Iris is also worried about love (more specifically marrying someone), Rose and Marigold have completely other concerns. Rose is a suffragette who is trying to combine country life with fighting for women's rights. Marigold is "loose" (term used in the book) and tries to find a rich, older, influential man to make her happy. Both these sisters go against the mainstream of things and the last thing on their mind is a soppy love story. So if you just want romance - don't read this book. If you're interested in different women from the same time period - then do. I highly enjoyed Rose's suffragette story and it was the surprise of the book for me.
However, the book is entitled The Golden Prince, so he should be the main focus of this story, right? Wrong.
Though Prince Edward is the key to a lot of major plot elements to happen, he is one of the most uninteresting characters in the book. Though he narrates quite a bit, he never really has any depth in his story. His main focus is making friends and falling in love and honestly, he does that quiet quickly and carelessly. Though it is clear that the author wanted to show how lonely Edward is, dhe just doesn't explain it enough to really understand his actions. I wish there was more depth to him, because he is completely overshadowed by all the Houghton girls.
I honestly must admit that I don't really know what to say about this book. It was nothing like I expected: I thought it was a story about Prince Edward's love life. Instead it really was the story of the Houghton girls and Edward was just a semi-uninteresting side character. Added to that, the story also read really slowly for the first part, which made it hard to stick to it. Sorry Golden Prince, but you're not gold for me - three stars.