by Rebecca Dean (Harper) ISBN 978-0-00-731572-7
As an avid reader of historical fiction, I prefer novels that tell a true story about real people. The Golden Prince falls short of that expectation, as the love story is not based on fact. However, it is still an enjoyable read.
Set in 1911, the 17-year old Prince Edward is soon to be vested as the Prince of Wales. Taught by his father to eschew friendship with commoners, his royal upbringing was lonely and devoid of love. When he accidentally meets up with the four Houghton girls, who not knowing his identity, welcome him into their family circle, he is charmed by their warm friendship.
He falls in love with Lily, the youngest sister, and for a brief magical spell, they believe that their love will be allowed to follow a normal course.
But Lily realises that Prince Edward’s destiny is greater than love and marriage, and that she has to be the strong one and set him free to fulfil his duty to the nation.
While all the time finding the premise for the plot implausible, the novel was sufficiently engaging. The four sisters were nicely characterised against the backdrop of English society in the early 20th century. Edward came across as weak and petulant, an impression that was reinforced in “The King’s Speech”. I would have liked an Author’s Note to clarify what was fact and what was fiction.
Not a “keeper”, but a good choice to while away an afternoon.