Ever After
(Zondervan) is everything to be desired from a contemporary
romance with a fairytale bent: it is a grown up Princess Diaries that
strikes the perfect balance of whimsy and heart. The second installment in
Rachel Hauck’s Royal
Wedding series brings back a captivating infusion of Southern sass to the rigid
European aristocracy.

Grand Duchy of Hessenberg, a small European kingdom, is on the brink of losing
its sovereignty and its salvation lies in the sole surviving member of an
exiled and shamed royal family. To complicate matters, the successor, Miss
Regina Beswick of small town Florida, is completely ignorant of her heritage
and reluctant to assume the role that her birthright demands. The task of
returning the prodigal heiress to restore her country and preserve its unique
heritage is thrust upon the Minister of Culture, Tanner Burkhardt.

“Reggie” Beswick is a force to be
reckoned with, whether behind the wheel of one of her restored vintage cars or
sitting in a local tavern facing an indignant mob. Abandoning her dull desk job
as an accountant, she is fulfilling a life long dream to run her own car
restoration garage. Unfortunately her joy is short-lived when King Nathaniel II’s envoy reveals a legacy that
seems implausible but is her new reality. Reggie battles with her crisis of
identity in the public political arena of Hessenberg while privately seeking
God’s will and purpose for
her life.

is a dashing and sensitive hero that empowers the heroine instead of saving
her. He lives with the secret shame of his wayward youth and is determined to
prove himself of noble character. His faultless support of Reggie is at times
at odds with his patriotism but he is unwavering in his honor. Tanner’s self-imposed isolation and
the bonds of his shame become loosened as his friendship with Reggie progresses
and he witnesses the redemptive and restorative grace that God unconditionally
extends to him.

become intimately acquainted with the innermost fears and longings of both
protagonists through the shared narrative. The dual first person point of view
communicates the magnitude of Reggie and Tanner’s struggles and budding relationship with realism and
authenticity. Hauck expertly captures the distinct accent, diction and
vernacular of these characters, allowing their personalities to take center
stage and freeing them to express a spectrum of spontaneous emotion without
being contrived.

Hauck writes with comedic timing and dramatic flair that underscore the
stirring theme of God equipping and legitimizing those He calls to fulfill a
purpose. Hauck’s
examination of the battle of the mind over the heart in both Reggie and Tanner
will find purchase with many readers who can identify with issues of self-worth
and qualification. The frivolity that a Cinderella storyline can easily indulge
in is restrained; Hauck chooses instead to capitalize on human emotion and
experience to tell Reggie and Tanner’s
stories so that they may simultaneously encourage and entertain.

Rachel’s portrayal of the supernatural
presence and intercession of the Holy Spirit and ability to commune heart to
heart with a person in their present circumstance is artfully executed and a
powerful testimony. Often modern supernatural encounters with the Holy Spirit
read as instances of mysticism and imagination, but Rachel Hauck illustrates
Reggie’s spiritual
awakening with a purity that leaves little doubt to its credibility.

Ever After
will endear itself to true romantics in search of substance
flavored with nostalgic storylines of princesses and happily-ever-afters. This
novel can be read as a stand-alone novel, but be sure to check out the
equally delightful Once Upon a Prince for more of Hauck’s modern fairy tales.

Lydia Mazzei is a Canadian high school teacher by day and a blogger by night. She has been a lifestyle blogger since 2007 and began her book blog The Overweight Bookshelf in 2009 to share her favorite past-time with fellow book addicts. As the name of her book blog indicates, Lydia has a voracious appetite for books that has resulted in bookshelves so heavy, they just might crash through the floor supports. Lydia also serves on the Advisory Board of the Inspy Awards.

For more on Rachel Hauck, check out our February 2014 issue!

Check out more great articles