Beautiful and witty, Princess Elena was supposed to live the fairytale life. Instead, her marriage is in ruins and her in-laws resent her glowing popularity. All Elena wants is to spend time with her two sons and be a good mother.
The murder of her divorce attorney complicates her plans. The Queen, her mother-in-law, withholds settlement on a trust fund and expects Elena to give marriage one more chance. That means keeping a low profile and following all orders from the royal family and staff.
Elena resists the control and struggles to separate her children from a system that reinforces inequality. In turn, the staff separates her from her sons in the name of security. For Elena and others, being a member of the family has become a royal trap – imposing lifelong limits on careers, daily activities and what one can say or do in any public setting. To raise her children as independent individuals, she must fend off paparazzi, staff and in-laws.
Elena, princess of Wales, the Diana-like heroine of this enjoyable mystery thriller from Froetschel (Interruptions), yearns for respect, to be free of her claustrophobic marriage and to lead a fulfilling life. Adding to her woes is an antiroyal faction intent on destroying the British monarchy, whose members include the widowed queen, Catherine II; Elena's estranged husband, Edward, prince of Wales; and their sons, 13-year-old Richard and 10-year-old Lawrence. When several of Elena's protectors are murdered, starting with her divorce solicitor, Elena fears she may be next and begins to plot an escape aided by a daring American freelance journalist, Michael McLarrity. Froetschel offers a nuanced view of Elena's relations with the royal family that closely follows the obvious historical model. Readers looking for a less tragic fate for the late Diana, princess of Wales, will find much to like in this beguiling what-if.