This was my first Danielle Steel book. I have, of course, seen this author's prolific amount of work (how can you not?) and I finally decided to give her a try. I listened to the digital audiobook of Royal, a story about a princess in hiding, romance and secrets set during and after WWII.
Things started off strong. The narration was decent, and I settled into this story that begins with a WWII/London Blitz setting, a forbidden (albeit Insta-Love) romance, tragedies and was loosely based on the current British royal family. I enjoyed seeing the similarities with the Windsor fam and there are even references to their love of corgis and horses (but a bit too much equine love for this non-rider).
But as the book progressed to the halfway mark, the story lost its steam and got bogged down with a startling amount of repetitive and redundant writing and shallow characters. Granted, one does not pick up a Danielle Steel book for deep character analysis and intricate plot, but Steel's writing had an almost lazy feel to it, making the story seem like it was from a newbie author, not one that pops out multiple books per year like a literary Pez dispenser.
This is an easy, escapist rags-to-riches tale that requires readers to suspend disbelief as the characters go from tragedy to bliss and back again a few times. Enjoyable if you don't mind predictability, this is a quick read that fans of Danielle Steel will devour and a good audiobook if you want a simpler plot to follow.
My Rating: 3 stars
Author: Danielle Steel
Type and Source: eAudiobook from public library
Run Time: 7 hours, 36 minutes
Narrator: Nick Afka Thomas
Publisher: Recorded Books
First Published: August 18, 2020
Opening Lines: In June of 1943, the systematic bombing
of England by the German Luftwaffe, targeting Britain's
cities and countryside, had been going on for three years.
Book Description from GoodReads: In this spellbinding tale from Danielle Steel, a princess is sent away to safety during World War II, where she falls in love, and is lost forever.
As the war rages on in the summer of 1943, causing massive destruction and widespread fear, the King and Queen choose to quietly send their youngest daughter, Princess Charlotte, to live with a trusted noble family in the country. Despite her fiery, headstrong nature, the princess's fragile health poses far too great a risk for her to remain in war-torn London.
Third in line for the throne, seventeen year-old Charlotte reluctantly uses an alias upon her arrival in Yorkshire, her two guardians the only keepers of her true identity. In time, she settles comfortably into a life out of the spotlight, befriending a young evacuee and training with her cherished horse. But no one predicts that in the coming months she will fall deeply in love with her protectors' son.
She longs for a normal life. Far from her parents, a tragic turn of events leaves an infant orphaned. Alone in the world, that child will be raised in the most humble circumstances by a modest stable manager and his wife. No one, not even she, knows of her lineage. But when a stack of hidden letters comes to light, a secret kept for nearly two decades finally surfaces, and a long lost princess emerges.