I love a good princess story as much as the next girl – and when the said princess story is also a Christian Romance published by Bethany House, then you can bet that I won’t pass that one by! “In Search of a Prince” was written by Toni Shiloh, a new-to-me author with plenty of talent and potential.
This fairytale-come-true story is filled with so many great aspects, from the strong Christian themes to the richly detailed and enthralling culture of Africa (although fictitious, the author clearly completed tons of research to give the kingdom of Oloro Ile a true-to-life feel, from the language to the rules of government.) In addition, the characters in this story are dynamic and it is inspiring to watch our heroine’s journey of growth throughout a tumultuous time of her life.
So, we’ve touched on just a few of the many strong points of the story – but now I need to point out a glaring problem that bothered me and significantly detracted from my enjoyment of the story… “In Search of a Prince” was, especially at the beginning, VERY, VERY similar to the “Princess Diaries” series in so many ways. First off, a girl finds out she’s a princess after her father dies, her mother concealed this truth from her for her entire life, and her grandparent invites her to come to the country where she is destined to rule. Her best friend is named Iris (in PD the best friend is Lily), and travels with her to Africa. Once there, the princess finds out she must marry in order to become queen of the country, and so the search for a prince begins! All this, (and many more interactions, details, and conversations, too many to list) will sound very familiar if you have ever watched the “Princess Diaries” movies or read the books.
Was the fact that there were so many similarities between this book and a popular pair of Disney movies disappointing? Yes, it was, and annoying too. I truly do not mean to say that it wasn’t still a good book with many fine qualities, a strong storyline, and inspiring themes – it was all that and more. But my question is, why did the author choose to include SO MANY similarities between her novel and that of a popular story written years ago and beloved by many? If only she had changed things up a bit more, especially in the beginning, I feel it would have been so much stronger and of course more original, rather than feeling like an African version of “Princess Diaries”.
So, those are my overwhelming feelings after reading this story. I wanted to like it, I truly did. It could have been great! But even though the story did switch things up significantly about halfway through, it was too little too late. The beginning of “In Search of a Prince” was just too similar (sometimes word for word) to a movie that I’ve enjoyed since I was a child, and I don’t feel that is fair to anyone involved.
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”