The Golden Prince

The Golden Prince

3.7 13
by Rebecca Dean

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An irresistible tale of scandal and star-crossed love
It’s 1912, and seventeen-year-old Prince Edward, England’s Golden Prince of Wales, is feeling the burden of his position. As heir to the greatest throne in the world, he hates the constrictions and superficial demands of his royal life. His father, King George, is a harsh


An irresistible tale of scandal and star-crossed love
It’s 1912, and seventeen-year-old Prince Edward, England’s Golden Prince of Wales, is feeling the burden of his position. As heir to the greatest throne in the world, he hates the constrictions and superficial demands of his royal life. His father, King George, is a harsh disciplinarian, and his mother, Queen Mary, is reserved and cold. Other than his siblings, he has no friends and despairs at his isolation and loneliness.  

However, when unexpected circumstances bring him to Snowberry Manor, home of the four Houghton sisters, his life suddenly seems more interesting. As he secretly spends more time with Lily, the youngest of the girls, he finds himself falling hopelessly in love.    

But Lily is not royal, and a thousand years of precedent insist that future Queens of England are of royal blood. Worse, King George reveals he already has a princess in line for Edward to marry. Will the strength of their love be enough or will destiny tear them apart? 

Grounded in rich historical detail and research and brimming with delicious drama and the sweet promise of first love, The Golden Prince is a wildly entertaining novel that will mesmerize readers and leave them begging for more.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the outset of Dean's solid historical, the highly arranged life of the 17-year-old prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, takes a drastic turn. One day in May 1911 while speeding in his motorcar, the prince, known as David, hits a young woman, Rose Houghton, riding on her bicycle near her home, Snowberry Manor. He rushes Rose to the manor house, where he falls almost instantly in love with her youngest sister, Lily. David spends much time at Snowberry, where he can pretend to be an ordinary man. He proposes to Lily, but his father, George V, refuses to allow the marriage. When David threatens to abdicate his right to the throne, Lily must choose between her own well-being and that of England. Besides creating a complicated lead in the prince, Dean (Palace Circle) deftly balances an array of well-drawn characters. Only the cartoonish villain, Captain Cullen, rings false. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
"With her insight into the era, Dean brilliantly depicts the man and England so well that readers will believe they are part of the whirlwind that was 1911 England. Through her elegant prose and vibrant descriptions, that world comes to life." —The Romantic Times

"Well researched and well written, this is romantic historical fiction at its best. " —Library Journal

Library Journal
In her second novel, Dean (Palace Circle) mixes historical characters with a fictitious family of four sisters to create a lively story of England in 1912. Sixteen-year-old Edward, the Prince of Wales, lives a constricted life without friends or personal freedom. When he meets the Houghton sisters by accident, he is treated normally, not royally, and falls in love. Rose, the eldest sister and a militant suffragette, believes marriage is incompatible with independence. Plain Iris is a traditionalist, planning marriage with her childhood friend. Striking, sexy Marigold cares nothing for her reputation. The youngest, Lily, is a sensitive artist whose forbidden love affair with the Prince affects the whole family. Living during the tumultuous transition from the staid Victorian/Georgian era to an early 20th century marked by new technologies like automobiles and telephones, the sisters chafe against tradition, seeking voting rights and some measure of freedom for the rigidly controlled Prince. Their dilemmas are resolved with an unexpected but believable ending. VERDICT Well researched and well written, this is romantic historical fiction at its best.—Sally Bickley, Del Mar Coll., Corpus Christi, TX
Kirkus Reviews

Dean's (Palace Circle, 2009) Golden Prince of Wales makes a romantic run at British court intrigue.

Rose, the auburn-tressed eldest Houghton girl, has a cute meet with the Prince of Wales. Driving home from Dartmouth with his disapproving equerry, the future king, whose family calls him "David," takes a curve and accidentally knocks suffragette Rose off her bike. She's the daughter of nobility who, along with her three sisters, lives at nearby Snowberry, a beautiful estate not far from the Prince's university. The Prince takes her home and meets her three sisters: Iris, with her brown hair and crush on the boy next door, is the plainest of the three; Marigold, a titian-haired beauty, has few morals and a penchant for scandal; and the youngest sister, Lily, is an enchanting girl with blue-black ringlets. Lily is guileless and gifted with the ability to make every man who meets her fall in love with her. David finds immense joy in escaping his rigid palace life, where he is overwhelmed by the duties of his office. He falls for Lily and schemes to spend more time with her. When he proposes and she accepts, he runs up against immovable opposition in the form of his parents, the reining King George and Queen Mary. But David is determined to overcome their objections and sets out to do so. Based loosely on the life of the Duke of Windsor, who ruled as king for less than a year before abdicating his throne to marry a twice-divorced American, Dean offers an interesting glimpse into court life right after the turn of the previous century, but often the details overwhelm the story. Every item of clothing worn by the sisters is minutely described, as are their physical attributes. The writing itself is uninspired and cliché-ridden.

Although classified as historical fiction, this book is really a romance dressed in period clothes, and readers of the first genre may find the flashing eyes, deep kisses and heaving bosoms tiresome after awhile.

Product Details

Crown Publishing Group
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8.26(w) x 11.34(h) x 0.89(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

MAY 1911

A slightly built, blond young man stood beneath Dartmouth Naval College's flamboyantly splendid portico. With his hands deep in his pockets he stared glumly across a broad terrace to where twin flights of steps led down to manicured gardens and beyond the gardens to a steeply sloping, tree-studded hillside.

At the foot of the hill lay the river Dart, clogged with college boats of all shapes and sizes. More than anything in the world he wished that, like many of the other cadets in his group, he were aboard one of them. Although he hated the academic side of his training, he loved being out of doors and active. Spending time aboard a sailing cutter, with the wind of the estuary blowing against his face, was the only thing that made life at Dartmouth bearable.

His cadet captain strolled from the shaded recesses of the grand entrance hall and drew to a halt alongside him. "Off on a weekend's leave?" he asked affably.

David nodded, making an effort to look happier about it than he felt.

His captain hesitated slightly, as if about to say more. Then, thinking better of it, he merely nodded and, with one hand hooked in the pocket of his naval uniform, he strolled on his way.

David watched him, his eyes bleak. He knew very well that his captain had been about to offer his usual good-bye to cadets going home on leave. "Give my best to your parents." Given David's unique circumstances, this would have been a familiarity not at all appropriate.

Besides, he simply had too many names. Seven, to be exact. Edward, after both his grandfather and an uncle who had died as a young man. Albert, after his great-grandfather. Christian, after one of his godfathers. George after his father, or was it because George was the patron saint of England? He wasn't quite sure. Certainly Andrew was after the patron saint of Scotland, Patrick after the patron saint of Ireland, and David after the patron saint of Wales. With that little lot to choose from it was no wonder people paused before addressing him.

Within his family circle he was known as David—and David was how he always thought of himself. If he'd had any close friends, it was the name he would have liked them to use—only he didn't have any close friends.

"It wouldn't be wise," his father had said grimly, hands clasped behind his back, legs astride. "Not in your position. That's why you're at Dartmouth and not Eton or Harrow. When you leave Dartmouth, your former classmates will be pursuing careers at sea and you will rarely, if ever, see them. That wouldn't be the case at Eton or Harrow. Any friendships formed there would run the danger of continuing after your education and would become a burden to you. You don't want that, David, do you?"

"No, sir," he'd replied dutifully, thinking there was nothing he'd like better than to have a couple of lifelong friends.

As if he had read David's thoughts, his father's protuberant blue eyes had narrowed.

"If that is all, sir . . .?" David had said, eager to be free now that the familiar knot of fear was forming in the pit of his stomach; eager to be on the other side of the library door once again.

Beneath his trim beard and waxed mustache his father's mouth had tightened, but the expected explosion of temper hadn't come. He had merely made a sound in his throat that could have meant anything and given a curt nod of dismissal.

As his cadet captain disappeared from view, David gave a heavy sigh, knowing all too well that in a few hours' time there would be a similar interview at the castle and that this time his father's ferocious temper might very well not be held in check.

He stepped from beneath the portico and began walking along the terrace fronting the college. Weekends at home were definitely not weekends he looked forward to, but they did have one redeeming feature. They enabled him to practice his driving. Slightly cheered, he rounded the building and strolled across the broad graveled drive to his Austro-Daimler.

As expected, Captain Piers Cullen was seated behind the wheel.

"No, Captain Cullen," he said pleasantly. "I'm doing the driving—at least until we're in sight of Windsor. Crank-start her up for me, there's a good chap."

Reluctantly, Piers Cullen stepped out of the open-topped car and, with even deeper reluctance, began cranking the engine.

David put on motoring goggles and a pair of driving gauntlets. The car had been a birthday present from Willy, his German first cousin once removed, and was the best present he could ever remember receiving. It had, of course, annoyed his father, who believed it had been chosen purely for that purpose. "Damn Willy's impudent cheek!" he had said explosively. "He's only sent it because the model is named Prinz Heinrich!"

David hadn't cared that the car had been named after Willy's younger brother. It went faster than he'd ever hoped a car could go, and though his father had been led to believe that on public roads Captain Cullen acted as his chauffeur, in reality David drove it at every opportunity he got.

As he drove out of Dartmouth and into the rolling green countryside he saw with pleasure that Devon was looking its best. Even though it was nearly the end of May primroses still massed on the grassy shoulders of the country lanes, and bluebells carpeted the floor of every wooded valley they passed.

He neared the market town of Totnes, wondering just what the weekend ahead held. His father would probably want to engage in what was commonly referred to as a "small shoot" and, as far as exercise was concerned, that would be it. For someone like David, whose sense of well-being depended on a lot of physical activity, it wasn't going to be enough.

He thought again of the inevitable interview in the library and grimaced. His marks during the year had been nowhere near what his father expected of him, though God knows he had tried hard enough and had even come top out of fifty-nine in German and English. In history he had come second and in French third. It was maths—any form of maths—that let him down. "Forty-eighth in geometry and forty-fifth in trigonometry?" he could just hear his father bellowing. "Forty-eighth and forty-fifth?"

"Steady on the speed, sir," Piers warned when they were out in open country again. "That last corner was taken very wide . . ."

David made a noncommittal sound not very different from the one his father often made. Cullen was a humorless killjoy and having him alongside for a two-hundred-mile journey was tiresome, if unavoidable.

His low spirits fell further as they crossed the county border into Dorset. His younger brother, Bertie, wouldn't be home as Bertie's leave from Dartmouth came much nearer the end of term. Since Harry, Georgie, and John were too young to count, this meant there would only be his fourteen-year-old sister, Mary, for company and finding something fun they could do together wouldn't be easy. Though his younger brothers' nursery could be raided for board games, his father always insisted such games be played with no uproarious laughter, which, to David, defeated their point; and they wouldn't be able to play cards, because there wouldn't be a pack to be found.

As Dorset merged into the airy uplands of Hampshire the loneliness he always fought to keep at bay swept over him with such force he could hardly breathe. He had no one he could truly call a friend. Piers Cullen was too dour a Scotsman to be someone whose companionship he would voluntarily seek. As far as Dartmouth was concerned, his father had never had to worry about friendships, for the boys he would have liked to make friends with kept their distance and the others toadied up to him—and he hated toadies.

He was so deep in thought he didn't see the blind bend ahead until it was too late for him to slow down. As Piers Cullen gave a shout of alarm, he took it far too wide and far too fast.

Too late he saw what was in front of him. Too late he saw that short of a miracle, there was going to be an accident of tragic proportions.

He slammed his foot on the brake. Slewed the wheel to the left. Then, with a girl's screams, Cullen's desperate "Jesus God!" and horrendous barking ringing in his ears, he plummeted into a future beyond all his imaginings.

Meet the Author

Rebecca Dean is the author of The Palace Circle. She was born in Yorkshire, England, and lives in London with her husband and two small dogs.

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The Golden Prince 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
SavannahRose More than 1 year ago
This book was very, very well written, had a great story, and I couldn't put it down. However, I was very disappointed in the ending of the book for several reasons. First of all, the book is about George V of England's son Edward (or David as he was also called) who in real life abdicated the throne of England in order to marry Wallis Simpson. This was a fictional version of his early life and it just seemed like since it was so fictionalized, the ending could have been a lot better than it was. Lily is his love interest in the book and it was disappointing that the end of the book turned out very well for all of her sisters (whose lives are also followed throughout the book), but not for her and David. It was almost like the author had just decided to end it because she had fun out of things to write. It was all a little abrupt. Also, (spoiler alert) at the end of the book Lily marries someone else in order to stop David from stepping down from the succession and breaks his heart by doing so. The ending seems like such a waste and it's so sad, which was so unnecessary to me since the real David did end up abdicating in order to marry the woman he loved, and since this story was such a fictional version of his life, the author should have made a better ending for David and Lily. All in all, it was a great book up until the ending.
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AZhistoryphile More than 1 year ago
Very well written, I could hardly put it down! Books with lots of research are such a pleasure.
JewelDragon More than 1 year ago
I like the storyline and characters, but I could not finish the book. It is too long and becomes tedious.
LASR_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Young love, first love, love that's oblivious to all obstacles enfolds Prince Edward (known as David to friends and family) and Lily and creates euphoria for them. They ignore the encroaching 'grownup' world with its rules, social mores, and responsibilities. Outmaneuvering constrictions like playful children escaping from their nanny, the two teenagers share the joy of true friendship then the special excitement of that consuming, first sexual awareness that is uniquely theirs. The Golden Prince, while not the usual happy-ever-after love story, is a story that reveals a love that is willing to give up much to insure the future happiness of the loved one. The love David and Lily share makes the heart sing. The inner strength and courage it engenders is memorable. In 1911, young David, soon to be the new Prince of Wales, did not enjoy the freedoms the 2011 Prince of Wales enjoys, but when the opportunity to shed his 'royal image' for a short time presents itself, he jumps at the chance. The four Houghton girls, granddaughters of Lord May of Snowberry are unaware of his royal station in life when they invite him into their ordinary world, giving him friendship with no strings attached. He can be himself without constraints. It is a special rite of passage time for the young prince. Lily, the youngest of the girls, is a magical, sparkling beauty with a joy for life. She steals his heart, encourages him to be the best he can be, and loves him with all her young heart, even after she learns his true identity. A talented sculptor, Lily lives in her own artistic world much of the time, loved and protected by her family that is uneasy about her connection with the young man who will someday be king. The secondary characters are many in this novel that touches on political, social issues and mores of early twentieth-century England. Lily's three sisters are influential forces. Rose, the oldest is a suffragette and journalist that has no interest in men she says, but Hal Green, a reporter on Fleet Street, gives her an opportunity to write for the newspaper and accepts her for who she is. He gets her attention. Marigold, the sister that David's equerry Pier Cullen calls "fast", likes older men, prestige, attention, and high society. She hides her hurts well, but feels deeply. Iris, the other sister, longs for a husband and family with a home of her own and wants them with Toby Mulholland, her first and only love. Rory, the cousin from Scotland that is more like a brother than cousin, plays a unique role in the scheme of things while all the time keeping his own council. The girls and their struggle to find their place in the world is 'a-walk-in-the-park' compared to David's life. Decisions about his life are made by his father, King of England, in conjunction with the political and church powers-that-be. David has no say about his own future life. When he does say what he wants, his father throws a temper tantrum to top all tantrums. With letters, phone calls, secret rendezvous, and help from French friends, David courts his darling Lily who gives him courage to use his position, charisma, and talents to make life better for all the people. With her as his cheerleader, he feels he can withstand the rigors of his duties and responsibilities that had at one time seemed unbearable. Full Review Posted at the Long and Short of It Romance Reviews