Penelope and Prince Charming

Written by Jennifer Ashley
Review by Audrey Braver

One fine day, Penelope Trask is walking to the village with her friend when a mad horseman gallops up to them. He asks the way to Ashborn Manor, which just happens to be Penelope’s home. This tall, dark, handsome and foreign gentleman turns out to be Damien, Prince of Nvengaria. He’s come to propose marriage to Penelope’s mother, the long-lost descendant of a Nvengarian princess, in order to fulfill a prophecy and return to Nvengaria by mid-summer’s day so that he can claim his right to rule. As if having to travel so far to find the widowed Mrs. Trask isn’t obstacle enough, she turns out to be a good twenty years his senior and her heart is engaged elsewhere.

Undaunted, Mrs. Trask seizes the opportunity to unload her daughter, Penelope, who has been jilted twice by suitors. She passes the silver ring, proof of her royal Nvengarian descent, on to Penelope so Damien can marry her. However, there is still a lot to overcome, chiefly Penelope’s reluctance, the Prince Regent’s well-intentioned interference, assassins, curses, and black magic.

This is a very witty combination of Regency-fantasy-Ruritanian romantic fairy tale and a slightly satiric tongue-in-cheek wisdom. It is intelligent and fun to read.