Sunday, August 12, 2012

Book Review & Interview: The Wild Princess

Author: Mary Hart Perry
Publication Date: August 1, 2012
Publisher: William Morrow

 The astronomical success of the historical novels of Phillipa Gregory and Christine Trent prove that readers simply can't get enough of the British royals--and now Mary Hart Perry enters the fray with an exciting, deliciously sensual novel of Queen Victoria's "wild child" daughter, the Princess Louise. The Wild Princess transports us back to Victorian England and plunges us into the intrigues of the royal court, where the impetuous Louise brazenly followed no one's rules but her own--even marrying a commoner, which no one of royal blood had done in the previous three centuries. Filled with rich period deal, The Wild Princess is an exciting, enthralling read. The Tudors have gotten the lion's share of attention in historical fiction; it's high time Queen Victoria and her family got their due.

Honestly how many stories have I read about a princess who has a duty to fulfill and knows that she must marry rich and bare an heir? Several. How many stories have I read in which the princess is considered “wild” and “difficult”? This one. Here we have a princess who defies all the rules and duties expected of her. She is beautiful and passionate about life and refuses to live it on her mother, the Queen’s terms. The book is lovely and I love the way she has her hand held up as if she is a pop star dismissing the paparazzi.  

This story is based on the life of a real life princess and daughter of Queen Victoria and King Albert. Louise is the fourth of five daughters and is also the most rebellious of any of them. Louise’s story tells about her journey through life and how she received the reputation of being “difficult” by her mother. Louise is filled with so much passion and a real love for art. Her mother saw her as wild and carefree after Louise expressed her desire to attend art school. A princess should not sit in a classroom and paint naked bodies all day! But that is why Louise is so great because she chose to bend the rules a little and follow her heart!

After reading the story I really got the idea that Louise did not want to be treated like a delicate princess at all, but rather a normal person just like you and me. She hated to be treated as if she were vulnerable or prized property. My most favorite thing about Louise was her friendship with the scullery maid named Amanda. The Queen did not believe in socializing with commoners because she believed them to be unworthy of her time and space, but Louise was so different. Louise’s friendship with Amanda was very enlightening and showed her humble and compassionate character. Amanda tells her of all the struggles that she has been through in her young life and Louise always sympathizes with her. Louise even says, “Meeting Amanda opened up a whole new world to her.”

Louise had a thirst for adventure and was a very independent woman. She finally talked her mother into letting her attend the school of art where she met her lover, Donovan. Donovan was the nude male model who posed for the class to sketch in order to earn some pocket change. Louise immediately fell in love with him, which of course is horrendous considering he is a commoner and she is the princess. Their relationship quickly escalated and Louise was left broken hearted when it was over. Donovan is one of the reasons that Louise earned the title of “wild one.” I loved it! She followed her heart and really felt the call of adventure. She is such a brave leading character.

For most of the story I felt bad for Louise because she is stuck in a marriage that is horrible and awful just to please her mother. She is denied true love and even the possibility of having any children. Louise is a beautiful bird who should not be caged behind bars, but her duty as a princess won’t allow much more. I say if you are a fan of historical fiction that you should pick up this book. It is quite a long book, but I was on page 200 before I even realized it. And please stay tune for my interview with the author, Mary Hart Perry, below!

***Thank you so much to the publishers at William  Morrow for providing me with my very own copy of The Wild Princess for review purposes***

Here with me today is the author herself, Mary Hart Perry, to answer a few questions about her new book The Wild Princess!

Me: What was your inspiration for writing The Wild Princess?

Mary: I like writing about strong women, who overcome obstacles in their life. The Victorian era was a challenging time for women. They were trying to break out of the molds imposed upon them, and Princess Louise, Queen Victoria's fourth daughter did just that!

Me: In five words describe your protagonist, Princess Louise.

Mary: Brave, generous, artistic, sensual, beautiful

Me: Are you working on a new book at the moment? If so, can you tell us about it?

Mary: Yes, I am. It's the second book inspired by the daughters of Queen Victoria. I chose to focus on Princess Beatrice, the baby of the family because she faced almost insurmountable odds to follow her dreams. Who stood in her way? No one less powerful that Queen Victoria herself!

Me: Are there any specific reasons why you chose the historical fiction genre?

Mary: I have written mostly contemporary fiction in the past but choose to write historical fiction now because I love the direction it's taking these days. Authors are writing more freely in the genre than they ever have--everything from highly researched fictional biographies to alternative history. It's just a great adventure, and I'm so enjoying it!

Me: What was your favorite part or scene to write in this book and why?

Mary: Oh, it's so hard to choose one. Maybe I'll just have to choose 2!  The first is when Louise and my dashing American hero (on loan to the queen's Secret Service in England) finally succumb to their attraction to each other while in Buckingham Palace. Oh, wow! Loved writing that. The second is a climactic action scene. I can't tell you exactly what happened; let it suffice that a major bridge in London blows up, with both the hero and heroine on it. Quite dramatic.

Me: Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

Mary: I grew up in New England, graduated from UConn, and never expected to become a novelist. Never even dreamt of it. Who knew?

Me: Is there anything that you would like to say to aspiring authors?

Mary:  Yes. When I teach at The Writer's Center in Washington, DC, I tell them that persistence is the most important thing. Write as well as you can at whatever point in your career you happen to be, write every day, and when you get into trouble, don't quit--ask for help. There are lots of great writer’s organizations and websites that provide amazing guidance. Seek them out. But most of all, keep on writing because that's how you hone your craft. Good luck!


  1. Thanks, Chelsey for this lovely visit with you and your readers! I enjoyed every minute and hope to return with future stories about the girls in Queen Victoria's family. Hugs, Mary Hart Perry (aka Kathryn Johnson)

  2. Lovely cover, lovely review, lovely interview. This is a cool author.