The Lost Prince

( 3 )


From the author of the beloved New York Times bestselling novel The Little Book, comes a novel about a love that is capable of bridging unfathomable distances.

Recently returned from the experience of a lifetime in fin de siècle Vienna, where she met and tragically lost the first great love of her life, Eleanor Burden has no choice but to settle into her expected place in society, marry the man she is supposed to marry, and wait for life to ...

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The Lost Prince: A Novel

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From the author of the beloved New York Times bestselling novel The Little Book, comes a novel about a love that is capable of bridging unfathomable distances.

Recently returned from the experience of a lifetime in fin de siècle Vienna, where she met and tragically lost the first great love of her life, Eleanor Burden has no choice but to settle into her expected place in society, marry the man she is supposed to marry, and wait for life to come to her. As the twentieth century approaches, hers is a story not unlike that of the other young women she grew up with in 1890s Boston—a privileged upbringing punctuated by a period of youthful adventure and followed by the inevitable acknowledgment of real life—except for one small difference: Eleanor possesses an unshakable belief that she has advance knowledge of every major historical event to come during her lifetime.

But soon the script of events she has written in her mind—a script described by no less than Sigmund Freud as the invented delusions of a hysteric—begins to unravel. Eleanor Burden, at once fragile and powerful, must find the courage of her deepest convictions, discover the difference between predetermination and free will, secure her belief in her own sanity, and decide whether she will allow history to unfold come what may—or use her extraordinary gifts to bend history to her will and deliver for her the life she knows she is meant to have.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Edwards’s sprawling second novel, it turns out, is no less a puzzle than his bestselling The Little Book, and follows on its heels in time, as Weezie Putnam returns from fin-de-siècle Vienna with a new name, Eleanor Burden, and a leather-bound journal that reveals “forthcoming events well into the twentieth century,” handwritten instructions that she believes will determine her destiny. This mysterious “Vienna journal” outlines a series of actions for Eleanor to take, throughout her life, that will make her not only wealthy but a crucial silent playmaker in world history, influencing the likes of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and William James, all while maintaining the facade of a Boston socialite and devoted wife. One of her most significant contributions involves financially backing a conference to bring Freud to the U.S. with the help of her godfather, William James. But Eleanor’s personal triumph is securing a teaching position in Boston for a young Austrian named Arnauld Esterhazy, who becomes a mentor to her young son. But when Arnauld, “swept up in the fervor” of WWI, disappears from her life (breaking with the journal’s predictions), Eleanor’s unwavering faith in the journal is shaken, and she heads to war-ravaged Europe just days after the armistice in a desperate search for Arnauld among the makeshift hospitals that house so many men destroyed by the war. Once again, Edwards has a good time connecting historical events and philosophical ideas, and also connecting this book to his first, though many of those threads remain loose until late in the narrative, and parts of the book feel verbose. But Edwards’s bird’s-eye view of the details of this momentous age makes this companion piece as much fun as his debut. (Aug. 16)
Library Journal
Marred by stilted language, clichés, run-on sentences, repetition, cardboard characters, and awkward dialog, this novel concerns a Mary Sue (Eleanor) who plays a major role in historical events. We know Eleanor is perfect in every way because we are told she is. There is nothing in the novel to demonstrate this, but all the men love her and she is so very clever. After all, thanks to the journal she got in Edwards's first novel, The Little Book, of which the current novel is the sequel or prequel depending on your view of time travel, we know that she and her family are the impetus for every major event of the 20th century. The novel is supposed to be about how Eleanor deals with her knowledge of the future and her adventures as a result. But it doesn't work. We are told everything and the result is tiresome. Even on the few occasions Edwards does show instead of tell he immediately undercuts it by telling us what he has just shown. And telling us once is never enough. VERDICT Many readers liked The Little Book. The assumption is they will read this one despite the poor writing and shallow characters; for everyone else, it's not recommended.—Pamela Mann. St. Mary's Coll. of Maryland, St. Mary's City
Kirkus Reviews
Hints of time travel haunt this historical and philosophical novel set in early-20th-century Boston and Europe. In 1898, Weezie Putnam returns to the States from a memorable trip to Vienna with three things: a manuscript, a ring and a journal. The manuscript lauds the genius of Mahler, and she publishes it pseudonymously under the name "Jonathan Trumpp." The ring she sells for $5,000, an enormous sum, to provide seed money for future investments. And the journal--the most precious artifact of all--was written in the future and thus provides her with a window into major 20th-century events. One might also add that she returns with a new name, Eleanor, and thus with a new persona. Because of the information provided in the journal, she knows her destiny and starts ensuring it comes about. As predicted, Eleanor marries a prominent banker, Frank Burden and begins a series of investments that initially seem questionable, though her foreknowledge assures her of their inevitable exorbitant worth. She hires a man named T. Williams Honeycutt, because the journal has informed her that he will be important in the success of her business life, but he has a cousin with the same name, so it's problematic whether she's hired the right one. She takes her largest risk with a young Viennese intellectual named Arnauld Esterhazy, who becomes the father of her son and who seems to have died at the battle of Caporetto in 1917, but the journal has predicted a long life for him, one intricately interwoven with Eleanor's. She's so convinced of the journal's truth that she makes a dangerous trek to postwar Europe to find him, and she succeeds. He's shellshocked, and she takes him to Jung's clinic in Zurich to recover. Throughout the novel, Edwards skillfully intertwines Eleanor's predestined fate with her relationships to Freud, Jung, J. P. Morgan, William James and other historical figures. A powerful, intense and fascinating read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525952947
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/16/2012
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Selden Edwards began writing The Little Book as a young English teacher in 1974, and continued to layer and refine the manuscript until its completion in 2007. It is his first novel. He spent his career as headmaster at several independent schools across the country, and for over forty years has been secretary of his class at Princeton, where he also played basketball. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    4.5 Stars 'The Lost Prince' is an imaginative and thought provo

    4.5 Stars

    'The Lost Prince' is an imaginative and thought provoking novel that tells the story of Eleanor Burden as she returns to her rightful place in Boston's high society, takes a husband, and waits for life to happen. She isn't that different from most other women of her time, except that Eleanor believes she has knowledge of every major historical event that will happen during her lifetime. How does one begin to explain this to others without sounding insane? As Eleanor's predictions start going awry, she is forced to face the forces of free will and predetermination, as well as believing in herself and the knowledge she possesses. The only question Eleanor must finally ask herself is if she will sit back and let history play out or will she use her gifts to change history?

    This was an incredible novel - unlike anything I've read before. There's another book before this one, The Little Book, but I was able to read this one without having read the first. The characters are realistic - especially Eleanor - who has her own strong personality along with flaws, strengths, and morals. I truly enjoyed getting to know Eleanor throughout the book - as a person as well as learning more about her amazing gifts. The setting was perfect for the novel and is described with such intricate details and vivid descriptions that I felt as though I was transported back into that era. The plot flowed effortlessly and had me hooked from the first page - and it didn't let up until the last sentence. It's definitely a book that will leave you thinking about a variety of issues - fate, predetermination, morals, free will, among others - long after you've finished. I don't do spoilers in my reviews, so it's hard to talk about much more of the plot without giving away anything. Suffice it to say that this is one of the most intriguing and extraordinary novels I've ever read, and one that I highly recommend to fans of all genres - especially historical fiction, science fiction, and fans of time travel and fantasy.

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2012

    Read "The Little Book" while you wait for this!

    I have read "The Little Book" several times now as I just love the story. If you like historical novels, "The Little Book" is a twist on that genre, as well as a new look at "time travel" books. While you wait for "The Lost Prince" to arrive, read (or re-read) "The Little Book."

    Edwards writes charmingly and shares historical fact with a compelling and thoroughly enjoyable story. The characters come across as formulaic in some instances, yet that is the veneer that covers the actual story within the story. "The Little Book" unfolds before your eyes. I won't spoil anything, yet will mention that you get to meet Freud, before he comes and adjective -- that exchange is fabulous, and one of my favorites in the book. Edwards portrays a seemingly cavalier male character while also providing us with independent, free-thinking women. His descriptions of the time periods bring them to life in a refreshing way that makes them a true part of the story.

    I can't wait to read "The Lost Prince" when it arrives on my nook. If it is half as good as "The Little Book," it will be great!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2012

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