Ransom My Heart
FOREVER PRINCESS, the final installment in Meg Cabot’s
popular young adult series, Princess Diaries, concluded
with Princess Mia Thermopolis’s senior project, an adult
romance novel, being accepted by Avon for publication. The finished
product is now a reality, and all proceeds from RANSOM MY HEART are
being donated to Greenpeace. The book is set up as if written by
Mia, with author information, a website (www.miathermopolis.com) and interviews with the
Princess of Genovia.
There are no princesses in this sophisticated historical
romance, though there is lots of humor, two believable and likable
protagonists, and plenty of action of all kinds. In 1291, Finnula
Crais is the youngest sibling of a large family of many sisters and
one older brother. She is the town oddity in that she was widowed
after only hours of marriage and loves to wear braies while hunting
game for villagers. No one can handle a bow and arrow like she
Finn adores her family. Her next oldest sister, Mellana, is
pregnant by a traveling troubadour. Mel is known for the beer she
brews, but she spent all her money on dresses and has nothing left
for the supplies to make it. She needs the cash even more now that
the singer has gone on to the next town and asks Finn’s help
with a scheme to make money, which is popular in their area ---
kidnapping a man for ransom.
Cabot’s humor comes through on this as she mentions how
Finn had to choose carefully who to kidnap, because several men had
been abducted a few times and their families would not pay up
anymore. Finn inadvertently takes Hugh Fitzstephen, the village
lord who is back from the Crusades after many years. He is willing
enough to be kidnapped by the beautiful Finn and plays along.
But Hugh is returning to many surprises, including a treacherous
uncle who has abused his power and taken money from his villagers
until everyone is poor and hungry. Except for Finn’s illegal
hunting, many families would starve.
Finn is confused about her feelings for Hugh, who is fun to talk
to and stands up to her. Soon they realize that someone is trying
to kill them, and they must keep each other safe as they draw
closer. The mystery may not have many surprises, but the action
moves along quickly.
In FOREVER PRINCESS, Mia makes it clear that the book is about a
girl’s sexual awakening, so sensual scenes move this one into
the adult realm, though they are a small part of this fun story.
Romance fans will enjoy the research into the times and the feisty
Finn. Meg Cabot wrote historical romances under the pen name
“Patricia Cabot” years ago, and it is clear that she
has a flair for the genre. We can only hope that Mia’s
writing career will continue.
Reviewed by Amy Alessio on January 23, 2011