My Fair Princess (The Improper Princesses: Book 1) by Vanessa Kelly

Publisher: Zebra

Date of Publication: August 30th, 2016

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance, Historical, Historical Fiction, Regency Romance, Fiction, Regency, Adult, British Literature, Humor

Series: The Improper Princesses

My Fair Princess – Book 1

Three Renegades and a Baby—Book 1.5

Three Weeks with a Princess—Book 2

The Highlander’s Princess Bride—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | Kobo | Apple Books | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

First, Vanessa Kelly brought readers The Renegade Royals. Now, in a delightfully witty new series, she introduces The Improper Princesses—three young women descended from royalty, each bound for her own thrilling adventure . . .

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?


I have mentioned in other reviews that I am a huge fan of historical romance. I love to be able to immerse myself and pretend, for a little while, that I am in Regency England. Something about that period fascinates me to no end. When I got My Fair Princess to review, I was excited about reading it.

The book lived up to the internal hype in my mind. The author was spot on with the sayings and the tons attitudes. The rigid rules society lived by and how they dressed were spot on. It is amazing what was considered awful, and life ending back in that society is normal in these times.

Miss Gillian Dryden is a prime example of what I stated above. She is the illegitimate daughter of the Prince of England. Her mother had made a bad decision, slept with the Prince of England, got pregnant, and decided to keep the baby. It didn’t matter that she got married to an Italian count; the stain of what she did followed Gillian around.

I liked Gillian’s character. She was spunky, outspoken and she was unpolished. Even though her mother was a Contessa and her stepfather a Count, she wasn’t brought into Italian society because of her birth. So she didn’t have the social graces that most girls of that period did, and I loved it. It was very refreshing to read her scenes because she spoke plainly.

But there was a downside to her character that I didn’t like. She was stubborn and didn’t listen to reason (or Duke Leverton). She took risks that put people and herself in danger. But it did make for an interesting read.

The Duke of Leverton (or Charles Valentine Penley). Oh, where do I begin with him? He has an iron facade, and nothing got to him except Gillian. Seeing his facade starting to crack and then for him not to be “Perfect Penley” was great.

I wish I could say that the rest of the story was as great as those characters. There was some promise when Gillian met Letitia and her husband, but that petered out. She gets a couple of bad nicknames (Doxy Duchess was one), and they all decide to vacation in the summer. I would have loved to see that triangle work its way out. Even the subplot of the smugglers was eh. I figured out who was helping them about halfway through the book.

The ending was cute, and I loved the epilogue.

I would recommend My Fair Princess to anyone over 21. There is sex and mild violence.


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