The Princess Plan

The Princess Plan

by Julia London

3 out of 5

Synopsis
Passion. Intrigue. Love.

London’s high society loves nothing more than a 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 off about the crime, forcing Sebastian to ask for her help in his quest to find his friend’s killer.

With a trade deal on the line and mounting pressure to secure a noble bride, there’s nothing more dangerous than a prince socialising 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 soon, as temptation becomes harder to ignore, it’s the prince who’ll have to decide what comes first—his country or his heart.



Review
When his secretary and best friend is murdered, the Crown Prince of Alucia has to team up with the most unlikely ally.

I received a free copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Prince Sebastian is in London to officially close a trade deal; and to unofficially find a wife amongst the eligible English ladies. The first part is his passion; the second is with greatest reluctance.
Everything is thrown amiss when one of the Alucians is murdered.
Not satisfied with the progress of the official investigation, Sebastian takes it upon himself to follow a lead that everyone else dismissed - a comment in a gossip gazette.

Eliza is content with her life. She has embraced being a spinster, and the freedom it brings her. She looks after her blind father, and helps with his legal cases; fixes clocks as a hobby, and helps to run the gossip gazette that her sister owns.
Everything is running smoothly, until an arrogant prince turns up and demands information on what she might have seen on the night his friend died.

There were some enjoyable parts to this story. The relationship Eliza has with her sister, her best friend Caroline, and the house-staff is quite lovely. There is a lot of open banter and laughter amongst them.
It was fun to watch Eliza give the same treatment to the Crown Prince who, naturally has never been spoken to in such a manner, and spends a lot of his time around Eliza completely flummoxed.
I liked how the relationship between Eliza and Sebastian developed, they both know their friendship can't last and they are always telling themselves that they will have to say goodbye and that the prince will have to marry someone else. It made a nice change that this was accepted, and wasn't a cause for spite or arguments.

The not-so-good...
I didn't like our main characters.
Eliza is supposed to be an independent, forward-thinking young woman, who has developed her own confidence after being ruined by scandal. I found her rude, blind to others, crude and inconsiderate. I got the feeling she was supposed to be a strong character, but she came across as very shallow.
Sebastian is supposed to be an arrogant prince who always gets his way, and the author captures that beautifully. The problem is, he never improves, and I could not like him.

The story wasn't too heavy on the romance, which I found quite a nice touch; but the background of the gossip gazette, the trade deal and the murder mystery were just that - a background.
There were no details, beyond which were convenient for moving the plot forward. Eliza didn't seem like a gossip, and she was often lacking in society knowledge, so it was often jarring that she was involved in the gazette (and we never saw her working on it, or any information on what she contributed).
The ending was a little underwhelming. The truth behind the murder is a decent enough plot, but it rattles along quickly, and is dismissed so they can break out the "Princess Plan". This felt tacked on at the end.

Overall, it was kinda light and fun, but I'm in no rush to read the rest of the series.

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