Summertime fun at an amusement park… PLUS a royal romance! Sign. Us. Up!
Author: Teri Wilson
Release Date: June 15, 2021
Review Copy: NetGalley*
A theme park “princess” meets a single dad…who turns out to be a real prince!
Enjoy the delightful royal romance from acclaimed author Teri Wilson and Hallmark Publishing.
Lacey found her dream job: playing a princess character at a popular fairytale theme park in sunny southern Florida. Her diamond tiara might not be real, but the smiles of the children she meets every day certainly are. It’s just too bad that her ex-boyfriend was never impressed with her career choice.
Henry, the crown prince of Bella-Moritz, is trying to fulfill his young daughter’s birthday wish: to be a normal girl with a normal life. That’s why they’re pretending to be ordinary tourists at an American amusement park. Henry lost his wife four years ago, and he’s been going through the motions ever since. But could a meeting with a make-believe princess lead to real love?
This enchanting romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe.
Recently, I’ve talked with friends about what we’re looking for when it comes to a summer book to escape in to. I personally look for a book that’s light, happy, and almost always has a romantic angle. With Once Upon a Royal Summer, the title alone grabbed my attention, but when you add in a potential secret identity and forbidden lovers scenario into the mix I just knew this was a book I wanted to get my hands on as soon as possible.
What I Loved:
I loved the escapism into two incredibly fun and fanciful worlds. We start out in a fairytale theme park with everyone in character ready to impress a visiting prince and his daughter and wind up being swept away to a beautiful foreign country and staying in a real royal palace. If that’s not an epic summer adventure, then I don’t know what is! Lacy’s job as a princess in an amusement park was enchanting and it brought up a lot of fun memories from being a kid and getting lost in make-believe. Her character was a delight and her deeply touching reasons for wanting to dress up as Princess Sweetpea made this more than just a book about a woman falling for a prince. She had substance and intelligence and wasn’t just a pretty girl in a dress, even though it would be easy to write her off as such.
The attraction between Henry and Lacy was instant, but because they had a child in tow they weren’t able act on anything. I LOVE when there are all these sparks and yet our main characters must be content with accidental touches and longing glances. I knew we wouldn’t be getting a whole lot of spicy in a Hallmark book, but a good writer can make you feel all sorts of things without taking it to the bedroom. Teri Wilson managed to blend the perfect amount of passion in with the sweet and I appreciated all the subtleties she wrote into the book.
Rose and Lacy’s bond was so authentic and pure. Kids in books can make it or break for me, but Rose was just so darn cute. She was wise and mature beyond her years, but still retained her childlike innocence. Everyone wanted to make her trip memorable, so they really threw themselves into the fairytale act. This resulted in Lacy and Henry dropping their guard and being able to genuinely relax because it was all make-believe.
What I Didn’t Love
Once Lacy arrived in Bella-Moritz our happy little family was no longer together 24/7 and I missed their bond immensely. Our trio spent several days together from sunup to sundown, but it was time for Prince Henry and Princess Rose to get back to their real life and royal duties. They still had a few run ins together, but the magic of being at the amusement park had dimmed a little. It made sense plot wise to allow them a little breathing room, but selfishly I wanted more Lacy and Henry time. The attention shift allowed us to see how much Henry and Rose benefited from their time abroad. Henry started to be a more hands on father, which made him realize his little girl had needs outside of just learning how to be a future ruler. I adored their father-daughter relationship right from the start and was happy to see them grow closer.
Once Upon a Royal Summer took me back to the excitement of make-believe worlds and fairytales. I enjoyed this extra-sweet contemporary romance novel and thought it was the perfect summer weekend read to get swept away in. If you’re looking for something classic Hallmark with a modern feel then I would absolutely recommend that you read this book!