Brought to the palace as a newborn, the royal life bestowed upon Mackenna Sparrow was never meant to last forever. With Princess Alina engaged to be married, Mackenna’s presence as companion is no longer required and, like it or not, she must return to the birthright which should have been hers – that of a commoner.
But not everyone at the palace wants her gone. When the truths she’s based her life on start crumbling as fast as her future, will she find the courage to trust – both herself and the prince she’s fallen in love with?
Why This Book:
I admit, I’m a sucker for fictional royal romances. Then, the idea of a commoner raised with royals, as a royal, and now being kicked out? Color me intrigued. Plus, you saw that cover right? So pretty! I was totally hooked.
If mortification could kill, I’d be six feet under.
Don’t you just love that opening?
To truly share my first impression, I need you to read the rest of the first paragraph:
And Nurse Kristiann over in the corner would probably still be trying to hide her laughter at the funeral. Some help she was. A word, a jerk of the head, even a cough would have been enough to warn me the three of us were no longer alone.
This single paragraph was all it took for me to know I really liked Mackenna Sparrow. Her sense of humor, her humility and her flawed humanity are all right there, making me want to know more about this young woman. Then, we find out she’s gotten herself into trouble as a result of trying to distract a sick young girl from her misery. How could I not fall in love with this heroine?
And without giving too much away, let’s just say when we meet Prince Thoraben on the very next page, his actions let me know this is going to be a romance worth remembering.
Mackenna Sparrow– I’ve already told you how much I adored this character in the first scene, and it just grew from there. She is everything I want in a heroine: intelligent, kind, brave, gentle, bold, flawed, and humble. She isn’t perfect and she has a lot to figure out over the course of the story, but she is someone I’d love to be friends with.
Prince Thoraben – A young man with a sense of mystery, he holds his cards close to his chest for a while, but it’s easy to see from the start that his heart is in the right place. He may not always know the right thing to do, but he’s a man who searches for what’s right and follows his convictions no matter the cost. Throwing in handsome good looks, a generous heart, and boatloads of compassion, adds up to a hero you can’t help but root for.
King Everson – What shall I say about this broken man, father to Thoraben and Alina? It would have been easy to paint him the villain of this story, but the author helps us see past his misdeeds to the pain that drives him. He’s a character with layers you may not expect and decisions you may not see coming.
Princess Alina – She’s Thoraben’s sister and Mackenna’s closest friend. Oh Alina, I so wanted to like her, but as the story progressed, my compassion for her shrank. I kept hoping she’d turn things around…of course, I won’t tell you whether she did or not. 😉
There are certainly other characters, all of whom add just the right touch at just the right time. Even Mackenna’s parents are both alive, married, and well (an admittedly unusual situation in a royal romance). But I think I’ll leave you to discover the virtues and flaws of the rest of the characters on your own. Because you must read this story!
Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:
From the first scene, the characters engaged my heart. By the end of the first chapter, I was well and truly hooked. I had to see what became of these characters and this kingdom. So much was at stake. I couldn’t put the book down.
Elements I especially liked/disliked:
There were several events that I did not see coming and yet they fit the storyworld perfectly. I love being surprised as a reader.
Also, having read many royal romances (including the popular (and general market) Selection series that bears similar-looking covers), before I began reading I was a bit worried that this book would have a too familiar feel to it. Let me assure you right now–it does not. There is no other book like Heart of a Royal. That’s a difficult thing to accomplish in a genre so well covered, but Hannah Curie has managed to write something fresh and wonderful. This is a book I not only loved reading myself and would recommend to friends, but one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to any teenage girl I knew.
The theme of this book is about discovering self, God, and purpose. It’s about being brave enough to stand for what’s right and true. It’s about love and loyalty.
I love that the conclusion of this novel was about more than just the love between two people. I can’t say much more without giving too much away, but I will say that this ending with so rich with meaning it deserves a reread, or even two or three. And this novel will definitely provide plenty of rich discussion material for any book club. I am SO glad this isn’t a stand-alone novel (although it could read as one) and that there will be more stories to come involving this vibrant storyworld and engaging characters. I can’t wait to see what Hannah Currie releases next!
5 out of 5 stars
Go grab your copy! Amazon
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Aussie author, Hannah Currie, loves God, family, people (in small numbers, let’s not go crazy here!) and writing. She and her husband live with their three adorable kids in sunny Queensland, where it really is beautiful one day and perfect the next. Except, maybe, during heatwaves. They’re not so fun. She loves to connect with readers at www.hannahcurrie.com.
More from Hannah
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by royalty. Real ones like Queen Elizabeth II, who is such an incredible woman and a total hero of mine (not to mention, as a proud Australian and member of the Commonwealth, my monarch) but also the not-so-real ones. Those found in fairytales. Romances. Narnia.
I’m one of those people who blocks out an entire day to watch a royal wedding, sighs like a hopeless romantic through cheesy princess movies, reads just about any novel I find with a crown on the front and loves a full-spread photo souvenir magazine. I may have even written a short story starring a princess for an English assignment at school. More than once. [Side note, if you’re going to write a story about a princess who is totally adorable but can’t spell, don’t use a misspelled word as the title. It takes a lot of explaining to make sure the teacher knows you did it on purpose and doesn’t mark you down for it… sorry Ninth Grade English teacher!].
The glamor draws me in, the beautiful clothes, the history and romance of it all, but it’s the expectations they have on them which hold me there. Every title comes with a million expectations, whether or not they’re realistic. We expect royals, both real and fictional, to behave in a certain way. To be honourable (assuming they’re the good guys). To care for their people and put them first. To always be there. Yes, even to be beautiful.
But what happens when they’re not? When they’re shy? Fight anxiety? Hate the spotlight? Are blemished in some way? What happens when what’s best for the people isn’t what’s best for them? Or when they make a mistake? Something which, for anyone else, would be easily fixed or glossed over but for a royal, gets written into the history books forever. Purely because of their title.
Kenna, the main character in Heart of a Royal, never meant to be a princess. She wasn’t born into royalty, neither did she choose it. And yet, due to circumstances far beyond her control, there she is. Living in a palace. Part of that life.
Very few of us are royalty but I think we all know how heavy expectations can be and the pain of being thrust into situations beyond our control. And yet, even in those moments and seasons, just like Kenna, we have choices. They might seem small, maybe even insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they’re there. Who we put our trust in. What we do with the circumstances we’ve been given. Where we go from there.
Heart of a Royal is as much my story as it is Kenna’s. No, I’m not a princess (thankfully!) but I have struggled through finding hope and purpose when life flies out of control and the expectations prove too much. And here’s what I’ve found – God is good. There is hope and God is good. I hope, through Kenna’s story, you are reminded of that too.
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Avid Reader Nurse, December 6
For Him and My Family, December 6
A Reader’s Brain, December 6
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Moments, December 7
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Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 11
Batya’s Bits, December 11
To celebrate her tour Hannah is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
Are you a fan of royal romances? Do you enjoy a good fish-out-of-water tale? Tell me about some of your favorite novels and what about Heart of a Royal most appeals to you in the comments below!
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Note: Although I did receive a free ARC of the digital version of this book, I was under no obligation to write a positive review. You may read my full disclosure of materials HERE.