Sixteen year old Victoria is on her way back to England from India to find herself a husband. But she is still en route when she becomes engaged to the handsome and charming Lord Malfrey. That is good. There comes into her life yet another not-so-handome gentleman who proves to be a real thorn in her side. That is not good. And between managing these two men Victoria feels she has a great responsibility in managing the affairs of her cousins – the Gardiners.
I picked this one up (having been told by a friend that Cabot wrote light-hearted, feel-good fluff)for an easy, relaxed read – my first Meg Cabot – and I wasn’t at all impressed. For one, the style was a little contrived, obviously written by someone who doesn’t know much about the Regency era and for whom the language of the day does not come easily. Secondly, way too many liberties are taken with utter disregard to the social etiquette of the time. I also found it gratingly annoying that the heroine was off to rectify and improve everyone while she seemed to be twice as faulty as anyone. She is quite the shrew and a very interfering busy body with too much self consequence. I think this is a story that could easily have been finished in less than a hundred pages for most of it was repeated, mindless pontification on Victoria’s part.
I have watched The Princess Diaries movies and enjoyed them. But this book was a real disappointment. I realise that it is written for teenagers, but surely it could have been better! Also, to anyone used to reading well flushed out Regency romances (especially Georgette Heyer) this is a farce. I’m sorely tempted to never read Cabot again…but I suppose she is better with something contemporary? I will give one of The Princess Diaries a try.
While I would have given this just one star, there were three or four instances where I did laugh and so it gets a two.