The Princess and the Prix by Nell Stark is a follow up, of sorts, to The Princess Affair. The main characters are different, but we do get to peek in on Kerry and Sasha. The Princess and the Prix stands entirely on its own; the focus of this story is Princess Pommelina Alix Louise Canella of Monaco (Alix for the interest of brevity) and Talia d’Angelis, a Formula One racecar driver.
Alix is the quiet child of the Monegasque ruling family. She is quite happy being out of the limelight and devoting herself to her humanitarian work. Thalia is quite the opposite. She’s a racecar driver with a chip on her shoulder, doing her best to prove herself in a male-dominated sport by being better, faster, and more in every way, including with women.
Their paths cross when Thalia is brought up into the circuit. Her hiring to one of the racing teams threatening for the F1 cup might have been a publicity stunt, but she’s determined to prove that she belongs there for the strength of her skills, and not the makeup of her chromosomes.
From their first meeting at Sasha and Kerry’s wedding, there are undeniable sparks between them, to Alix’s surprise. She’s never felt this attraction to a woman before, or really to anyone. Thalia is certainly interested as well, but then she’s had more than her fair share of interactions with women. The two of them get closer, but tragedy and Thalia’s own self-destructive tendencies conspire to threaten a happily-ever-after that has not even begun.
Princess Pommelina Alix Louise Canella of Monaco, or just plain Alix is not your stereotypical princess. She’s a doctor with an advanced degree in public health from Harvard and has just returned from living in Africa. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and has a strong feminist perspective. Also, horror of horrors, she has little use for Monaco’s national obsession: Formula One racing. However, because of her chance meeting with Thalia at Sasha and Kerry’s wedding, she stuns her family by volunteering to represent their interests during the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix. Her attraction to Thalia is confusing to her, and she struggles with revealing it to the public, but she can no more deny her feelings to herself than she can stop breathing.
Thalia d’Angelis is dedicated to her sport. As a woman in racing, she has to constantly prove her abilities. Nothing about her accomplishments is taken for granted. Because she constantly has to prove herself, she’s emotionally shut down. Her strained relationship with her father doesn’t help matters, nor does the fact that she knows she was hired onto her team as a publicity stunt. To her, that only means she needs to work even harder to prove that her place is an earned one. Her attraction to Alix complicates an already difficult scenario, and Thalia’s temper is her worst enemy. When the pressures get to be too much, she only has one outlet, one which promises to tear her and Alix apart.
The Writing Style
Nell Stark really knows how to hit you right in the feels. She is a master of building up your investment in her characters and their relationship, then pulling it down around you. I haven’t read many others who can make the bottom fall out of my stomach when her characters have troubles. She’s also very good at giving you both characters’ takes on a situation. I felt for both of them so much, and I’m not (too) ashamed to say that parts of this book had me trying to read through my own tears, much to my wife’s amusement.
The story clicks along at a good pace and it’s clear she’s done her research! Admittedly, I’m not a race fan, but the details seemed good to me. There was no weird hiccups to pull me out of the enjoyment of the world Stark has created.
Lots of racing action, and two women who are incredibly hot in their own way. I’m not a princessy kind of girl, but Stark really had me feeling for Alix. As an introvert and bookish-type person myself, it was nice to see that in another character. And of course, Thalia is so dang hot and brooding. I love the way she pushes herself to her goals, and lets the nay-sayers be damned.
Nothing from me! I loved this book, and I hope there are more coming in this series!
If you read The Princess Affair and loved it, you’ll love this one also. If you like celebrity romances, this will also be right up your alley. Heck, if you love a well-written romance that’s going to gut you will all the feels, then make you want to stand up and cheer, then you should go out and buy this right away!
Excerpt from The Princess and the Prix by Nell Stark
“Possibly.” Thalia slackened their pace, returning to the more conventional slow dance. “To make it up to me, why don’t you explain how someone born and raised in Monaco, with motorsport in their blood, has such a distaste for Formula One.”
“When did I ever use the word ‘distaste’?”
“You didn’t have to.” Thalia grinned. “Don’t worry. I’m not offended—just curious.”
Alix didn’t know how to respond. No one had ever questioned her lack on interest in racing or asked her to justify her opinion of the sport—either because they didn’t care, or because she never had. Unlike Florestan, she had always been more interested in books than in cars, and unlike Camille, she preferred a quiet corner or solitary walk to the glamorous party scene that attended the circuit.
“It simply isn’t how I want to spend my time. I don’t understand its allure.”
Out of patience with Thalia’s needling, Alix abandoned politeness. “Frankly, I don’t see the point of driving grossly inefficient gas-guzzlers around in a circle, repeatedly, at suicidal speeds. It’s wasteful and reckless. You don’t even go anywhere!”
Thalia halted their swaying movements. “Jeez, tell me how you really feel. You do know that Formula One has all kinds of regulations to protect the drivers, right?”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781626394742
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books