Most girls probably dream of marrying a prince at one point or another. Whether it’s while playing with dolls’ houses or reading gossip mags, who hasn’t thought “if only I could be Mary Donaldson, or Kate Middleton, or … ” In Wendy Holden’s latest novel, Marrying Up, Alexa MacDonald (nee Allison Donald) is chasing wealth and status the only way she knows how – by finding a wealthy, eligible, preferably young and titled, bachelor to marry.
Somehow she manages to dabble in, and thoroughly muddy, the waters of the English upper class. She attempts to make her way upwards by attaching herself to Lady Florence Trevorigus-Whyske-Cleethorpe (a lady of many titles, but little by way of brains) but when Florrie’s mother sees through Alexa, she hurriedly makes her exit from the world of Britain’s elite.
Alexa manages to escape with Barney van Hoosier, another celebrity-chaser, to Monaco in the hopes of bagging the eligible Prince Maxim of Sedona. She doesn’t reckon on the numerous other hopeful females in line ahead of her, though, rich and titled ladies from all over Europe, and their mothers, who also make their way to the palace. And when Lady Florence and her formidable mother appear on the scene, Alexa is forced to do some very quick thinking to salvage her tilt at the crown.
Polly Stevenson, meanwhile, high-school fellow of Allison/Alexa, has pursued a very different dream – Roman archaeology. More specifically, ruins of Roman toilets are right up her alley. While excavating on a rural English estate she meets the tall, dark, handsome veterinary student Max. Max’s reticence about his background doesn’t bother Polly but when he suddenly disappears, right when their relationship seems to be heating up, she is at first concerned, then angry. She dumps her Roman ruins for a one-way ticket to Nice to try to escape her memories and who should she see but Alexa, on her way to Monaco. Intrigued, Polly ends up in Monaco and then Sedona right on Alexa’s heels.
This is a fun and entertaining look at the world of celebrity-chasers. Wendy Holden has definitely picked her target and with tongue well-planted in cheek, has delivered a comedy with a side of romance that is easy to enjoy.
Available August 2011: Hachette RRP $32.99