The Playboy Prince and the Nanny
By Donna Alward
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Reviewed by Janga
Diego Navarro, second son of the King of Marazur, a small Mediterranean principality, is at an English bar with his best friend from his days as a Cambridge post-graduate when he hears a television blaring the news of the tragedy. A call from his sister, Luciana, soon confirms that the report is accurate. Cecilia Navarro, wife of Diego’s elder brother, Raoul, crown prince of Marazur, and Mariana Cortez, nanny to Raoul and Ceci’s two children, have been killed in an automobile accident. Diego may spend much of his time out of his country engaged in activities that have earned him the title “the Playboy Prince,” but he loves his family. He leaves for Marazur immediately.
Diego is eager to assume more responsibility in Marazur, but his father and brother are locked into the position they assumed twenty-five years ago when Diego and Raoul’s mother died: Diego is to be protected. That protection means limiting his role as a member of the royal family. But it is Diego who remembers that his young niece and nephew, grieving for their mother and their nanny, are in desperate need of a new caregiver. He takes it upon himself to hire a new nanny.
Rosalie Walters is an English nanny with impeccable references. She has worked for wealthy families and even minor nobility, but this is her first position as nanny to royalty. Rose is understandably nervous, and that nervousness increases when she meets Prince Diego. She met him once, and she is aware of his potent charm. But she expects him to be in South America where the latest paparazzi coverage has placed the international playboy. She is flustered to find him in the castle kitchen, teasing the cook and clearly ready to flirt with the new nanny. Rose quickly establishes a loving relationship with six-year-old Emilia and four-year-old Max. Prince Raoul is distant but pleasant, and the staff is kind and ready to help her adjust to her new position. Rose is set to enjoy her new role.
To her surprise, the most frequent visitor to the royal nursery is not the children’s father but their uncle. It is clear that Uncle Diego is a great favorite with the children and that his affection for them is genuine. The problem is that, try as she may, Rose cannot deny how much she enjoys Diego’s company. She insists on addressing him as “Your Highness” and maintaining a proper distance, but Diego refuses to recognize the barriers she puts in place. He finds a friend in the English Rose, one to whom he can talk about his frustration with his playboy identity, one who sees him as a man rather than a title. And the attraction that sparked between them in that kitchen meeting grows with each encounter. Just when it seems that the prince and the nanny may have their fairy tale ending, scandal erupts. Diego is MIA. A broken heart and a ruined reputation may be all Rose has to show for her time in Marazur.
The Playboy Prince and the Nanny is the first of a two-book set from Donna Alward. It is a sweet romance, but I consider it Donna Alward light. I liked Rose and Diego and felt great sympathy for Raoul and the children. However, despite the tragedy that served as inciting incident, the story lacked the emotional depth that made me a fan of Donna Alward’s books. This novel reminded me of the shorter category romances that require some suspension of disbelief, offer an entertaining few hours, but are not particularly memorable a few days later. I don’t intend that statement to be pejorative. Sometimes that is exactly the kind of book a reader needs.
If you like contemporary romance with a fairy tale element, heavy on genuine sweetness but light on substance, you may enjoy this book. I won’t be adding it to my best books of 2017, but I liked it well enough to note that Raoul’s story, The Crown Prince’s Bride, will be released January 9, 2018. And since I had a feeling that sister Luciana’s story had been told, I did some research and found that The Rancher’s Runaway Princess, a 2009 Harlequin Romance, is available for my Kindle. I will be reading that one too.