Operation Prince Charming
by Phyllis Bourne
(Dorchester, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0-8439-6390-8
Operation Prince Charming is a sweet and delightful novel. Phyllis Bourne is a newer author and overall she does a good job of telling an engaging story. Bourne was previously a crime reporter for a newspaper, and while she included elements of crime as a secondary plot, the story is primarily the romance we all love most.

Hunter Coleman is a Chicago detective whose girlfriend, Erica, feels like he is preventing her from becoming part of the social circuit. This has been a quest of hers since inheriting a large amount of money. Erica’s solution is to send Hunter to etiquette school, so he can help her dazzle the area socialites into accepting her.

Hunter arrives at the Spencer School of Etiquette where he meets his teacher, Ali Spencer, aka Polite Princess. Hunter is reluctant to attend classes, but wants to try and salvage his stressed relationship with Erica. Erica’s new-found wealth has turned her into a different person and she has left her old life and friends behind.

Ali is an etiquette guru, who recently moved to Chicago to help her aunt run the family school and save it from disarray. She previously resided in Florida where she was married and had a successful career with the local newspaper writing an etiquette column. Her career was flourishing, until she caught her husband with her best friend / assistant. Her career then went down the drain along with her relationship.

Hunter and Ali don’t expect to instantly fall for each other, but they are both struggling to keep the distance between them and not give into temptation. Ali knows firsthand the pain infidelity can cause in a relationship, and she doesn’t want to interfere in Hunter and Erica’s relationship.

The beginning of the book is a little disjointed, jumping from scene to scene, and I was hoping for a little more background on Hunter and Erica’s past relationship before jumping into Hunter and Ali’s undeniable attraction. Also, I’m not always eager to read stories that include the hero/heroine involved in infidelity, even if it’s hypothetical.  Perhaps if there was more detail provided regarding the strained relationship between Hunter and Erica, the attraction between Hunter and Ali so soon in the story wouldn’t have been as bothersome.

Operation Prince Charming did redeem itself after the third chapter, when it really starts to flow. What will hold readers’ interest is the constant development of the characters’ background. Hunter and Ali’s pasts are not revealed completely in the first few chapters like you often see in other books. There is a secondary plot going on throughout the book, which seems out of place, but in the end is tied together and adds an element of humor to the story.

The style of the writing in Operation Prince Charming is very easy to read.  It is a smaller book and a quick read if you’re able to dedicate the time. The characters are believable and the dialogue seemed effortless.  Hunter and Ali could easily be your neighbors next door and their personalities are well depicted. 

I don’t know that I would read Operation Prince Charming again, but I would recommend it to anyone looking for a “charming” and light-hearted story.  

--Nichole Howell 

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