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Billionaire in Disguise

“These four beautiful Princesses of Genovia are expected to lead their country one day but as the eldest Princess Genevieve is expected to take over the throne. But before that, as per tradition, when the royal children turn 25, they are given three months of freedom. They will either stay in Genovia or travel the world; they are free to do whatever they want without any guards of chaperons beside them for the span of three months.” (Billionaire in Disguise, Prologue)

“Sigh. What will I do if Raphael Jackson turns out to be the same man I met in London? I don’t think he cares at all because if he did, he would’ve looked for me. What am I thinking? It doesn’t matter if he looks for me or not. Who knows if he already has a girlfriend, a fiancé, or worse, a wife? Wait, why am I feeling sad all of a sudden? Why would I? It was just a one night stand. I squeezed my eyes shut to erase all the thoughts I have about that guy.” (Billionaire in Disguise, Chapter Ten)

Genevieve is the crown princess of the kingdom of Genovia. Before she ascends the throne, following the traditions of this agricultural nation, she will be given three months to do whatever she wants without the companionship of her guards or courtiers. When the three months are over, she will return for a magnificent ball at which she will be introduced to potential suitors.  Overwhelmed by the thought of marriage, Genevieve sneaks out of the castle to drive in a street race in London. After winning her race, she leaves a nightclub with a stranger and has sex for the first time.

After celebrating her twenty fifth birthday, Genevieve leaves for her three month journey. She decides to go to Australia to participate in a real track race. She is disappointed to find a limo waiting for her at the airport and a luxurious suite at a fancy hotel. All Genevieve wants to do is race cars and explore a lifestyle different than the one in which she was raised. When she bumps into Raphael Jackson, a famous Australian landscape architect and racecar driver, the young man quickly recognizes Genevieve as the woman he has slept with only a few days before. The two soon become rivals, the tension between them palpable. Will Raphael and Genevieve continue as enemies or will they learn to learn and love alongside one another?

The novel starts strong, though its style seems to disintegrate into dust at the times when a reader wants to be fully engaged in the work.  Genevieve, unaccompanied by guards, goes home with a stranger.  She is terrified of being taken by men who mean her harm, but she doesn’t think twice about accompanying a stranger.  She moves between worrying that the man is a kidnapper and wanting to have sex with him, rapidly going back and forth. Her worries seem legitimate, but she fails to contact her sisters about her sudden disappearance and asks to stay the night at the man’s home, even though her family will be desperately worried. Once she realizes that the man is not a kidnapper, she wonders if he is an alien, a segue that tries to show how drunk she is, but actually makes the entire scene less compelling.  The whole scene felt awkward and unrealistic, taking away from the joy of the novel.

I absolutely loved the concept of this novel. This is an interesting twist on the “rebel princess” trope and one that could have been really, really great. Genovia (seemingly modeled after the already famous fictional nation) has a wonderful tradition of letting its princes and princesses have three months of free time after their twenty fifth birthday. Genevieve is supposed to be completely separate from her title, bodyguards, and employees, but she is still surrounded by the trappings of her wealth and privilege. I want her to truly go solo; she shouldn’t be speaking with her sister’s every day or asking her friends to work for her during this time. I want a fish out of water story develop from a really cool concept!

This novel makes its characters jacks of all trades. Raphael is a race car driver and a world renowned landscape architect. Genevieve is a princess, a farm manager, and an amateur street racer. I am curious how she developed the skills necessary to drive on professional tracks with no real training. While her sisters enjoy the more “royal” pursuits of horseback riding, baking, and playing the violin, Genevieve is clearly a rebel.

Genevieve has several suitors pursuing her, though Raphael is by far the most interesting of the love interests. He is handsome and mysterious, though a bit standoffish. I am curious if he will be the “billionaire in disguise” as the title suggest. Will his wealth make him a more welcome suitor to Genevieve’s parents? Or is Genevieve the secret billionaire? I am curious where their love story will lead and who will be turn out to be the secret billionaire.

I enjoyed this novel because its plot is built on a strong and interesting foundation. I loved the idea of a princess getting a no holds bar three month vacation. The work will keep the reader guessing, sometimes to the benefit of the story and other times to its detriment. The novel does have some issues, but overall Billionaire in Disguise is a fun contemporary romance with new twists.