Book: PRINCE IN DISGUISE
Author: Stephanie Kate Strohm
ARC?: Yes, provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Life is real enough for Dylan—especially as the ordinary younger sister of Dusty, former Miss Mississippi and the most perfect, popular girl in Tupelo. But when Dusty wins the hand of the handsome Scottish laird-to-be Ronan on the TRC television network’s crown jewel, Prince in Disguise, Dylan has to face a different kind of reality: reality TV.
As the camera crew whisks them off to Scotland to film the lead-up to the wedding, camera-shy Dylan is front and center as Dusty’s maid of honor. The producers are full of surprises—including old family secrets, long-lost relatives, and a hostile future mother-in-law who thinks Dusty and Dylan’s family isn’t good enough for her only son. At least there’s Jamie, an adorably bookish groomsman who might just be the perfect antidote to all Dylan’s stress . . . if she just can keep TRC from turning her into the next reality show sensation.
Clearly, I am on a reality show kick. First I fell in love with NICE TRY, JANE SINNER and now I’m in love with PRINCE IN DISGUISE.
Here’s a secret I’ve never shared before- I am a sucker for Christmas based romance stories and I am SO in love with all those cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies. The Nine Live of Christmas (also a book!)? Yes. A Royal Christmas? Uh huh. The Christmas Ornament? I cry every time. When I saw PRINCE IN DISGUISE on NetGalley and realized it was set during Christmas, I knew this book was for me. What I didn’t know until I read it was that this book REALLY needs to be turned into a Hallmark Christmas movie. I would watch the shit out of it.
Our story starts in Tupelo, Mississippi, where Dylan has been sucked into her sister’s wedding preparations and the subsequent reality TV show that has followed (the channel’s clever name in the book is TRC, haha). When Dylan is swept off to Scotland for the wedding, she finds herself falling for one of the groomsmen and fighting for her privacy as TRC catches wind of this new romance… this time with an actual prince.
I think it was terribly clever to show how reality TV warps what is real. The title of the show is ‘Prince in Disguise’ but we find out pretty early on that Ronan is a Lord, not a prince. And while TRC goes to great lengths to make his castle seem very glamorous, the estate is actually kind of falling apart and Dusty even admits that all of Ronan’s money is tied up in the estate. There were also times when they would force Dylan to tape confessionals, but she would have to repeat certain lines over and over until they sounded just right for the camera.
Dylan is a super likable character. She’s been thrust into this peculiar place and because she’s a minor, she wasn’t given the option to opt out of being on the show. I totally related to her need for privacy and why she was so irritated with her mom and sister for getting her involved in something she wanted no part of. Dylan is also “not like other girls” but it wasn’t in the typical YA fashion- instead of berating other girls for liking makeup and fashion, Dylan admits that she just doesn’t understand it and isn’t bothered by not knowing how to do hair and typical “girly” things. The only time she ever comments on her sisters routine is a quick jab at her sister getting carried away with the fake tan. Dylan even comments on how beautiful Dusty is several times in the book and it’s never in a way that degrades Dusty. While Dylan and Dusty do have a very tension filled relationship (most of it stemming from Dylan’s non-compliance with the shows rules), it’s very obvious that the sisters love each other. When Dylan finds out Dusty’s secret, she offers to let the show focus more on her budding romance in hopes that the eagle-eyed producer won’t find out what’s going on with Dusty.
Then there’s Jamie. Sweet, awkward, poetry reciting Jamie. Yes, he is TOTALLY unreal and perfect but that just adds to my desire to see this made into a Hallmark movie. From the trapdoors he finds, to the the over the top date he plans, Jamie is a swoon worthy love interest and a very princely fellow.
Of course, every good Christmas romance needs its comedic relief and that’s where Kit Kirby comes in. Kit is short and full of life but I think this line sums him up the best.. and I’ll leave it at that.
This book is predictable. It’s apparent who the real prince in disguise is and you can pretty much guess the plot. Unpredictability is not what makes this book a jewel. This is just a feel good story. This is a curl up in bed with a hot drink and wish for a prince kind of book.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who like a little romance, a little sisterly love, and whole lot of heart.