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Princess in LoveReview - Princess in Love
The Princess Diaries, Volume III
by Meg Cabot
Harpercollins Juvenile Books, 2002
Review by Su Terry
Nov 4th 2002 (Volume 6, Issue 45)

What is essential for a princess to live happily ever after? If you answered Prince Charming, you are correct. In Meg Cabot’s third volume, Princess Diaries III: Princess in Love Mia tries to connect with her Prince Charming while trying to avoid kissing too many frogs. Like the previous volumes, volume III is written in the format of a teenage girl’s diary, and charts Mia’s further adventures as a princess-in-training.

To recap the story from earlier Princess Diaries (vol. I and II), Mia Thermopolis is an average ninth grader growing up in Greenwich Village until she discovers that her father is the royal prince of Genovia. Having been left sterile by cancer treatments, Mia, his only child, is now his heir and the next in line to rule Genovia. This announcement arrives as a complete shock to Mia who knew her father was an important foreign diplomat, but not that he was a royal prince! In volume I, Mia begins her princess-in-training lessons with her Grandmere and learns to cope with her ever-present bodyguard, Lars, and discovers the difference between real and false friendship, and that image is not always the best indicator of character. In volume II, Mia continues her princess-in-training lessons with her Grandmere and learns how to cope with dating while accompanied with her ever-present bodyguard, Lars. Along the way, she learns some harsh lessons about status seekers and discovers the identity of her secret admirer.

In volume III, Mia continues to deal with her unique family situation (her mom is pregnant and now married to her algebra teacher) and struggles with the pressures of end of semester exams, her upcoming trip to Genovia, and an unwanted boyfriend, Kenny. Grandmere is up to her old tricks and has invited her cousin, Sebastiano, to design her gowns for her holiday tour of Genovia. According to Grandmere, “Sebastiano is the best designer in Genovia” however, Mia learns he is, in actuality, the only designer in Genovia. Mia is not only suspicions about Sebastiano design abilities, but also about his motives since he is next in line for the throne if anything should happens to her. Mia, however, is not sure which is worse being killed by one of his gown or being mortified by having to wear one of them. She will have the opportunity to discover her answer when photographs of her trying on his gowns turn up in the Fashion Section of the New York Times. If fears about Sebastiano are not enough, Kenny, her current boyfriend has turned out to be more frog then prince. She would like to break up with him since his kisses leave her cold, but her avoidance of him so far has only resulted in his very loud and very public protestation of his love for her. Complicating matters, he is her best bet for a date for the Winter Carnival Nondenominational Dance, and worse yet, he is her biology partner and she cannot afford upsetting him with only two-weeks until finals. What can this poor little princess do?

Mia continues to mature as she faces more of the common issues facing young people today. In this volume, her relationship with her pregnant mom, her new stepfather, and soon to be new sibling move to a back burner. She continues to confront the tough issues of dealing with her best friend who seems hell-bent in leading her into conflict with others, especially the school administration. She also is struggling with the very normal adolescent issue of gently breaking up with a nice, but still unwanted boyfriend. In most way, Mia’s issues are quite normal and young readers can learn a lot from Mia’s successes and failures. More often than not, her princess oriented difficulties are background and added comic relief to the plot.

Meggin Patricia Cabot is a full-time author. She was born and raised in Southern Indiana where she earned a fine arts degree from Indiana University. She began writing romance novels under the pseudonym “Patricia Cabot.” These included Where Roses Grow Wild (1998), its sequel Portrait of my Heart (1999), An Improper Proposal (1999), A little Scandal (2000), Lady of Skye (2001), Educating Caroline (2001), a novella in the anthology A Season in the Highlands and Kiss the Bride (2002). She has two young adult series under the pseudonym “Jenny Carroll.” These are The Mediator (4 tittles) and 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU (4 titles).  Under “Meg Cabot”, she has published Princess Diaries (vol. I) (2001), Princess Diaries (vol. II) (2001), and Princess Diaries (vol. III) (2002). She has also begun a new series entitled All-American Girl (August 2002) and her first historical romance for young readers is Nicola and the Viscount (August 2002). Princess Diaries (vol. I) was released as a movie by Disney in 2001. Princess Diaries (vol.II) is currently in pre-production. The film rights to All-American Girl and 1-800-WHERE-R-U have already been purchased. Ms Cabot lives in New York City.

Mia’s third volume of adventures as a Princess is as delightful as the previous two! While there is a heavily reliance on information and relationships established in the earlier volumes, enough background information is provided for a new reader to feel comfortable. I do, however, suggest reading this series in order.  I highly recommend all of the Princess Diaries books to any young princesses and to any princess want-to-be …no matter what their age! Books are easy reading and appropriate for ages 12 and up.

 

 

© 2002 Su Terry

Su Terry: Education: B.A. in History from Sacred Heart University, M.L.S. in Library Science from Southern Connecticut State College, M.R.S. in Religious Studies/Pastoral Counseling from Fairfield University, a M.Div. in Professional Ministry from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, a Certificate in Spirituality/Spiritual Direction from Sacred Heart University. She is a Licensed Minister of the United Church of Christ and an Assistant Professor in Library Science at Dowling College, Long Island, NY. Interests in Mental Health: She is interested in the interplay between psychology, biology, and mysticism. Her current area of research is in the impact of hormonal fluctuation in female Christian mystics.


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