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My Fair Princess

Improper Princesses Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Beverley A. Crick
Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
Categories: Romance, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (38 ratings)
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This Story Is Seductive

Publisher's Summary

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 town 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 fairy tale ending?

©2016 Vanessa Kelly (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"This is a fun ride with a colorful, adventurous heroine and a happily disconcerted, formerly perfect hero." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Stilted on Romance

The romance between the characters is stilted at best, which weakens the novel. I like the heroine, but I wish there had been more of a build up between her and the hero. It was as if the author added the romance in at the last moment and the first half of the book is bereft of any real tension between the two characters, except for antagonism, which is not tempered with angry embraces, kisses or anything else. There is a rival for the hero's affection and that could have added the needed tension, but it falls flat.

It's not a bad book, but it simply could have been so much better, which is why I have to three star it. It falls short of the mark.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Why the Accent?

What would have made My Fair Princess better?

A different narrator. The narrator kept giving the heroine, Gillian, and her mother an Italian accent, which drove me crazy and took me out of the story. Unless I misheard and misunderstood the story, her mother was born and raised in England of English parentage and was only called a "contessa" because she had married an Italian count. I questioned whether even Gillian would have had an Italian accent. While she was raised in Italy, her mother and grandparents, who had raised her, were all English so I think English would have been her first language, or at least she would have learned it at the same time as Italian, so I doubt she would have had such a strong accent. In fact, her grandmother mentioned how Gillian could speak French with hardly any accent, so why the heavy-handed accent in English? I've also heard a lot of female narrators do better men's voices. Even when she was just reading the main narrative portions, Crick sounded either disdainful or bored.

If you’ve listened to books by Vanessa Kelly before, how does this one compare?

This was my first audiobook of Kelly's, but I had read an ebook by her before and thought the plot dragged. I actually liked this one better although I felt it dragged in a couple of places in the middle. I really liked Charles' character but didn't find Gillian as endearing as the original Eliza Doolittle was. There were scenes where I really liked her and felt for her, but there were also scenes where I thought she acted like a petulant child.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Beverley A. Crick?

Ashford McNab or Elaine Claxton

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I felt sadness because I felt sorry for Gillian, who'd had such a lonely existence and was punished for her mother's mistakes. Unfortunately, I felt annoyance every time she spoke because of the Italian accent. I just couldn't get past the poor narration.

Any additional comments?

I would give Vanessa Kelly another try because there were characters and parts of this I really enjoyed, but only if there were a different narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Strong willed heroine meets perfect Penley


I am surprised at how much I enjoyed this one. It was humorous, well written and well paced. It was refreshingly different from the other HRs I’ve read in a while.
Gillian Dreyden was the illegitimate daughter of a prince. She grew up in Sicily but her grandma brought her back to London to make a match from the ton. To aid her with the husband hunt, her grandmother enlisted the help of Duke of Leverton, Charles Valentine Penley, to polish Gillian’s rough edges. And Gillian was my most definitely rough.
This book basically follows the prim and proper Charles school tomboy Gillian who was determined to shock the London ton.

This book made me chuckle often. The story was flowed well and both characters were likeable. They were developed well and held my attention. Perfect Penley and Gillian were a great match, they verbally spared like equals and respected each other. Gillian was strong willed and Independent. She gave The Duke all he could handle en route to becoming his duchess.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A fun listen

I love these characters. Gillian is great! A pistol packing, knife wielding Sicilian heroine. The Duke is pretty okay himself.

The narration was perfect. Another win for Vanessa Kelly.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A bit different and that was good

I liked the storyline and that it had a bit of spice but not too much.

I did not mind the performer's accent but her Duke's voice... not so much. Was annoying at times. Other than that, she did a good job.

This is a cute romantic story with imperfect characters. with some adventure... I liked it.