by Barbara McMahon

June 2003
ISBN: 0-373-03753-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Harlequin #3753
Mass Market Paperback

It is Clarissa Dubonette’s job to bring back the heir to the throne. Leaving the Kingdom of Marique; as an ambassador straight from the King, Clarissa heads to California in search of the King’s grandson, Prince Jean LeBlanc. What she finds is a hunky construction worker, Jake White, who she is sure she can convince to move back to Marique and take up the throne. What self-respecting working class person wouldn’t want to be a future King?

Jake White doesn’t want to leave California and he certainly doesn’t want to be recognized as the King’s grandson and heir – more than thirty years after the King disowned his father for marrying a “common” American woman and then abandoning their family after his father died. But when Clarissa shows up and begins telling Jake about how wonderful an opportunity it would be for him to trade in the construction hat for a princely crown, Jake decides that perhaps it is time for him to return to Marique and show the King exactly who was missing out on all of their years apart. And if he simply forgot to mention to Clarissa that he wasn’t just a construction worker, but, rather the CEO of a major construction company … well, he couldn’t really be at fault for that. Could he?

Then again, it’s not as simple as it seems. Jake is planning to give the King the shock of his life by publicly refuting the crown and embarrassing the royal family in front of the entire kingdom, but when the sparks begin to fly between him and Clarissa --- well, maybe there is something to be said for Marique, after all.

Now, with all Mr. Common Guy turned Cinderella stories there is a level of disbelief that you have got to suspend. Because, trust me, I’ve checked out all the hot construction workers in my area – and none of them have turned out to be Princes. Even a Frog Prince might’ve been an improvement for some. (Disclaimer: I do live on the East coast – perhaps Cali has a whole different breed of men. That would be just my luck!) But aside from that, Barbara McMahon pulls off the whole plot nicely. Marique may or may not be a real place – I tend to think it isn’t, but the details and portrayals were fascinating enough that I didn’t feel a need to rush over to the computer to check it out. And for my internal cynic – that’s quite a leap.

I liked the male protagonist in this story more than I liked Clarissa. No offense to her, but perhaps Jake’s utter resistance to a grandfather that abandoned him rang more true than a woman who was utterly loyal to crown and country. Again, the internal cynic. But, I enjoyed Jake’s angst (in a compassionate readerly sort of way) and, of course, couldn’t help but hope that he took the crown and made Clarissa his Queen. --- Or as a nice second choice, took the crown and flew to Pennsylvania to search for me.

A great story, The Tycoon Prince, is part of the Harlequin Romance High Society Brides stories – and is fit for any woman (and perhaps a few men) who wished they kissed a few less frogs and had more princes to sweep them off their feet. Attractive construction workers never hurt, but throw in a title and a legacy and you’ve got my vote. I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did.

Happy Reading!

Reviewed in November 2003 by Nadia.

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