The Noble Heir
Julia Keanini

[Princes of Valdoria 1]

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What about the one that got away?

Prince Theo Kane has always known duty comes first. As crown prince of Valdoria, his priorities have been country and family above all. And that’s always been easy for him–until duty and the queen demand that he find a wife. But he already tried proposing to the one woman he really wants, and she ran.

Alex Turner fought her way to the top of the world’s most prestigious photography course. As long as no one figures out who she really is, her dream of being a photographer on Jacques Ledoux’s renowned crew is within her grasp. Nothing is going to hold her back, including her pesky feelings for a certain swoon-worthy royal.

When Theo’s and Alex’s paths collide, old feelings are reignited…but those feelings have burned them both. Fool him once, shame on her. Fool him twice?


Clean, wholesome, and sweet… but also a little boring.

Alex was the more interesting of the pair. She knew what she wanted and she went after it with every means at her disposal, even if those means meant masking her identity as a princess. She loved what she did, even if her reasons for starting it were a bit pat, and she was loyal to her dream. She was a bit dull personality-wise, being so hyper-focused on photography and, later, her newfound crush on Theo; it would’ve been nice to see her personality fleshed out more.

Theo made Alex look vivacious and fascinating. He was wishy-washy and staid, with no real personality beyond his desire to please his mother and his professed love for Alex. The revelation of his close-held secret was mediocre–it was apparent early-on that it would be something of that ilk, if not that specific activity, so the reveal was underwhelming–and his on-again, off-again relationship with Elise was irritating.

The relationship between Alex and Theo never really seemed to develop. Theo seemed as though he’d always been in love with Alex, though it was never really shown why, so it lacked immediacy and believability. Alex, on the other hand, ogled Theo half-naked a few times and developed a crush that seemed to stay as such until the end when suddenly they were together. It was not well paced.

The secondary cast ranged between meh and downright irritating. Elise was properly villainous in the end, but I never understood why Queen Marla hated Alexandra so much–it was mentioned a few times that she did, but it was never explained, so it seemed like gratuitous dislike for the sake of drama and angst. The other princes were mildly interesting (which makes sense, given it’s a series of their romances), but much of the rest of the cast was spiteful or forgettable.

The story as such was barely there; it was a string of encounters with Alex and Theo with a few events dropped in periodically to advance things or set up the future books. The events didn’t flow well, though, and were even more glaring against the laid-back tone of everything else. I’m still confused at why Alexandra flipped out when Theo went to her parents for permission to court her, too. Why would she assume that his parents had done it? If she knew that was her country’s tradition, why would she react so negatively anyway?

I’d wanted something sweet and fluffy, but this just didn’t hit the spot. It didn’t need more adult situations, but a better flow and fixing of the plot holes would’ve helped.