Susan Mallery creates another Marcelli family story in her new book. This time it is wild-child Mia who is at the story’s center.
When the man Mia loved with all her heart unexpectedly shows up in her bedroom one morning, she is dumb-struck. Diego died four years ago! How can he be standing and smiling at her? Then he stuns her yet again with his confession. He is not really Diego, the lawless bad-guy Mia fell in love with on her first and only spy mission. In reality, he is Prince Rafael of Calandria. And he’s the father of her son, Danny.
Telling her he thought she died four years ago, Rafael also goes on to say that he has only discovered his son. He wants Mia and Danny in his life and he’ll do whatever is necessary to make that dream come true. Unfortunately, beneath the veneer, Rafael is hiding a devastating truth. He plans to take Danny back to Calandria, no matter what it takes, and without Mia in tow.
Mia doesn’t know what to feel or think. She just knows she’s glad to have Rafael back. What the future holds, she’s not sure but she’s willing to give him the chance to prove his love once again. Unfortunately, not all happy-endings come easy and Rafael isn’t afraid to use his charm, wit, or lust to get what he most desires.
Disappointing is the word that best sums up The Marcelli Princess. After the wonderful stories that preceded this book, it was hard to swallow that Ms. Mallery, a talented and capable author, offered readers this heartless and deceptive storyline. Rafael is definitely not up to snuff as hero. His character is full of contradictions, lies, and duplicity. I had a hard time feeling any sympathy for him because his actions continually showed that he was looking out for number one only. Scores of authors have made Princes and Princesses likable and understanding but in the case of Prince Rafael, he never moves beyond his “I’m the Prince so therefore, I deserve everything” attitude.
His total lack of caring, kindness and ability to comprehend why Mia was so angry made him the anti-hero and made their so-called “happily-ever-after” at the end seem like a tacked on appeasement to the reader.
The only joy in this story is revisiting the Marcelli clan and catching up with them. Even Mia seems to lack the verve and humor that made her an intriguing character in the previous stories. The plot is fairly simple but in the right hands, and with the right characters, it really could have shined. Unfortunately, it appears Ms. Mallery wasn’t up to the task with this story.