Once a Princess Author:Johanna Lindsey Review By Amanda Carrell "Erotic Romance Author" (Texas) — Once upon a time there was a baby princess born in the small European country of Cardinia. Her name was Tatiana Janacek and her father was the king. Her life should have been an endless parade of balls, cotillions and fairy-tale dreams, but before her first birthday her world shattered. ... more »Her entire family was killed in a blood-feud that destroyed the royal house of Cardinia and her own life was threatened before it even had a chance to begin. So, the new king, Sandor, held a ceremony to betroth Tatiana to his son, Stefan, and then the only remaining Janacek was spirited away to the wilds of America. Unfortunately, the bad luck she'd faced in Cardinia followed Tatiana to the new world and the woman who accompanied her on the harrowing journey died the moment they reached America. Tatiana never had the chance to learn of her noble ancestry or even to know her own birthday. Left in the care of a tavern-owner and his wife, Tatiana grew up as Tanya Dobbs. In her formative years she suffered greatly at the hands of the man she believed to be her father. Beatings and emotional abuse were Tanya's constant companions. Now in her 20s, the man who abused her so grievously must depend on her for his care. With his incapacitation, Tanya is finally able to take control of her life and the tavern where she was barely better than a slave will soon be hers. Thus, the woman who should have been the queen of a country finally becomes ruler of her own destiny.
In the land of Cardinia, king Sandor's health is failing. The rigors and responsibilities of ruling are taking their toll on him and he feels it would be in his country's best interest if he turns the reins over to his son, Stefan. His last wish as king, and possibly the last wish of his life, is for his son Stefan to journey to America, find the now-grown Princess Tatiana, bring her back to her homeland and marry her. Stefan is completely against the idea. Not only does he have no desire to marry a woman he's never met, he's sure the pampered princess will turn out to be extremely beautiful. Unlike most men who would be thrilled at the prospect of a beautiful bride, Stefan suffered an horrific accident when he was younger. While trying to save his younger brother from a pack of rampaging wolves, his face was disfigured. Left scarred physically and emotionally, Stefan has resigned himself to a life of scorn from beautiful women. Though reluctant, Stefan decides to honor his father's last wish and journeys to America with three of his friends.
What follows is one of Johanna Lindsey's best stories as Tanya becomes accustomed to the idea that she's actually a lost foreign princess and Stefan learns that not all beautiful women are shallow and self-serving. I've always found everything about this book engaging. The plot, the dialogue, the characters, the setting all come together for an amazing read. Tanya is probably one of Ms. Lindsey's most likeable heroines. Tough, sassy, brave and completely capable of taking care of herself, Tanya's had to work for a living her entire life. Stefan is a unique hero, with deep emotional scars and he's the perfect compliment for Tanya, who has also suffered greatly in her young life. Together their love story is tender and touching.« less