- Once Upon a Prince (2013)
- A March Bride (2014)
- Princess Ever After (2014)
- How to Catch a Prince (2015)
- A Royal Christmas Wedding (2016)
This series has been on my radar ever since I got the first book as a free Kindle book. Last year, when I was reading through the novella series A Year of Weddings (by various authors), I realized that A March Bride was actually a follow-up to Once Upon a Prince. I kind of enjoy the concept of modern fairy tales (after all, The Princess is still a go-to fave of mine), and that’s basically what this series does. Hauck has created a kingdom, Brighton, which is a small island in the North Sea. Conveniently, English is their first language, so everything works out when, throughout the series, several Brightonian princes fall for American girls.
Overall, I really enjoyed these books. They were relaxing and fun little love stories, with some good character development and some thoughtful questions. They are definitely Christian books, with strong (although not misplaced) Christian themes/conversations without, and this also means that they are delightfully devoid of graphic sex. For the most part, Hauck does a good job of creating likable female characters who are strong and independent without being obnoxious, and creating male characters are kind and thoughtful without being weak and stupid. There were times that the angst factor was a little too strong (especially in How to Catch a Prince… I mean, COME ON, STEPHEN, MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE), but for the most part, the amount of angst felt realistic for the complicated problems!
However, the further along the series went, the more Hauck depended on basically supernatural encounters to further her story – angels, small miracles, etc. I wasn’t exactly against this, and as a Christian I believe these things can happen, and I felt like it was consistent with the rest of what Hauck was saying. BUT it also felt like sometimes she was able to use this as a way to just sort of tidy things up. This seemed especially evident at the end of Princess Ever After, where conveniently God has apparently just kept this entire barn full of Important Things hidden from human eyes for a hundred years, and now it reappears and has everything they need to fix all their problems. In that instance, it felt more like a plotline cop-out than proof that God still works in our lives today. (That book definitely had the weakest ending anyway. Guy spends the entire book being a political enemy, and then in the end one short conversation means he’s suddenly on the other team?? That didn’t seem likely at all.)
I did appreciate the way that A Royal Christmas Wedding not only told Avery’s story, but also kind of wrapped things up for the other couples I had met along the way. It had a very happily ever after vibe that I totally could get behind.
This ended up being a 4* series for me for the most part. I enjoyed reading these books and liked most of the characters. There were times that they were a bit slow, or where the use of supernatural forces felt a little heavy-handed, but I could usually get behind it. While I’m not sure this will become a go-to series for me, they were very enjoyable for a one-time read, and I can definitely see myself picking up other books by Hauck in the future.