My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly
Overview by Publisher:
Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is happily ignorant of all social graces. After growing up wild in Italy, Gillian has been ordered home to England to find a suitable husband. And Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton, has agreed to help transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante.
Powerful and sophisticated, Charles can make or break reputations with a well-placed word. But his new protégée, with her habit of hunting bandits and punching earls, is a walking scandal. The ton is aghast . . . but Charles is thoroughly intrigued. Tasked with taking the hoyden in hand, he longs to take her in his arms instead. Can such an outrageous attraction possibly lead to a fairytale ending?
This story is a clever and engaging take on My Fair Lady. Gillian is the wholly inappropriate Princess from Italy who has come home to England to be introduced to society.
Her family calls upon Charles, The Duke of Leverton to be her guide and entrance into society. He has his work cut out for him! Unlike the cockney heroine of My Fair Lady, Gillian is the bastard princess of the King’s brother and has been living in exile in Italy since her birth. Gillian is with out doubt, one of the best characters I have read in a long time. She is just so vibrant and alive!
Gillian has had to come to England to escape the Sicilian mafia who have a vendetta with her. Her beloved step father’s death still weighs heavily upon her and her mother. She is doing her worst to get out of dreary England and back to sunny Palermo. Her outrageous behaviour is barely acceptable in Italy and certainly not in the upper echelons of English society.
Gillian has a tendency to say whatever comes to her mind. She is glib and quick witted, not caring to bow down to the witches of the ton. While I find her beyond hilarious and enjoyable, she becomes the bane of Charles’ existence! She torments his tutors, mocks his lessons on manners and incites the ton.
What becomes clear is that she doesn’t want to conform. She knows how to behave, but truly just doesn’t see the bother. Deep down she hopes that her naughty deeds will have her sent packing to Italy, but eventually she doesn’t want to go. This is because of the time she has spent with Charles.
I have to say, I so enjoyed the merry chase that Gillian sends Charles on. She was such a great character – the author must have had so much fun writing her! Charles was the perfect foil for the rascal Gillian. His nickname of ‘Perfectly Penley’ was the opposite of the numerous names Gillian earns.
This was a great story! I loved the characters and the story moved along at a rapid pace. Gillian was just so great that it was hard to put this book down!