Book Review: Royal Escape by Susan Froetschel

Updated on January 23, 2018
Natalie Frank profile image

Natalie Frank, a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology & editor, publishes short stories, novellas, prose poetry & essays on literature and writing.

One afternoon as a harried day of work was approaching an end, I surreptitiously checked my personal email in the hopes of a word from a friend or joke from a relative. The first message that caught my eye announced an Author Talk that evening at one of the local libraries. The author was Susan Froetschel who would be discussing her book, Royal Escape. Though exhausted, I found my interest peaked by the fact this evidently wasn’t just an author trying to sell her latest novel but was more of a writing workshop for aspiring mystery writers. The author briefly discussed her book, gave a short reading, then launched into the workshop.

The Workshop

Sometimes at such workshops you hear a preponderance of generalities that while well meaning, don’t really help much with any of the specific problems a writer frequently faces. Not this time. The author provided detailed suggestions for how to hook the reader in the first few pages, character development, point of view (my personal weak spot), motivation, plot and endings that work. She gave out worksheets and exercises some of which we completed on the spot and went over with her feedback and comments, and a number of others to take home.

Though not one for exercises or lots of pre-development, I completed each one and later found myself incorporating much of what I’d worked out during those activities into my manuscript as well as changing parts that I didn’t realize weren’t working well prior to the workshop. All I know is that my arrogant psychologist who’s life is being ruined, though he has no idea by whom, began to develop characteristics which made him seem a little less worthy of compassion and my lunatic who’s carrying out all the crimes against said Psychologist develop characteristic that made him seem a little more worthy of understanding due to his horrifically abusive childhood and far more sinister. After completing several worksheets, suddenly, my characters were becoming three-dimensional!

Review

Yet that wasn’t all I got out of the evening. When at an Author Talk while some feel obligated to buy a book, I do so only when it seems like something I’d truly enjoy reading. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely certain about his book, at first. I generally don't like narratives that follow famous real life story lines too closely. You don’t get more famous than the British Royal Family and Princess Diana. Still, from the description it seemed as if it could be a unique spin on even such well known events so I bought a copy mostly out of curiosity as to how the author would attempt to pull off a plot and characters which weren’t too recognizable to fully come across as fiction. “And where could the mystery possibly come in?” I also wondered.

Figuring it would be one of those books I picked up for a few chapters every now and then, I was surprised when I read straight through it in a matter of hours, ignoring a ringing phone and my favorite TV drama. While there were resemblances to what we were shown of the members of the Royal family, the story was unique enough to allow me to forget the similarities.

This Princess was smart and savvy. As opposed to moving ahead blindly, she analyzed each situation she encountered in order to achieve what was best for her children. She avoided staff attempts to control her every move especially knowing most of them had less than honorable intentions. She even learned a way to secretly communicate with her sons when separated from them through a disguised Blackberry despite having no computer knowledge prior to this endeavor. And all with a serene smile on her face such that no one would guess she was contemplating anything more serious than the sublime shrimp entree set before her. But behind that cool exterior she was developing complex plans in her mind to foil the palace’s machinations, and spend more time with her sons.

An unsuccessful assassination attempt occurs which kills her driver and injures Elena and her younger son, resulting in even greater regard from an already admiring public who now dub her a hero for saving her son and attempting to free her driver from the burning car. The Royal Family are furious at the attention and whisk her sons off to various Royal haunts, refusing to allow her to see them or even know where they are. After the years she’d spent among them not to mention having confronted her strength and assertiveness as she’d fearlessly walked away from a Royal Marriage and promise of becoming Queen, it’s hard to imagine how the Family believed they’d ever succeed.

As for the mystery and intrigue, I didn’t have long to wait. The author begins each chapter with a few lines spoken by mystery characters hinting at a plot against the Princess to prevent her from continuing to be the most beloved and admired of the Royals even though she’s no longer formally part of the family. As the story continues it becomes clear that, whoever these mystery figures are, they will stop at nothing to remove her from the picture and gain control of the Royal Heir. Yet her love for her sons and commitment to ensuring they are raised with the ethics and morals she believes most important as opposed to what she realizes are detrimental lessons being taught by the staff, who are almost exclusively in charge of raising the children while they’re with the Royal family, provide her with the courage and ability to fight whatever danger comes her way.

For anyone who loves a good mystery, especially one that doesn’t follow one of the predictable plot lines running through many recent releases and who can’t help falling in love with a Princess who is utterly charming yet never fails to follow the path she believes is right even when faced with harm, unrelenting obstacles or the displeasure of the Queen, to define the course of her life and those of her sons, this book is a must read. You will quickly find yourself falling into the pages, feeling as if you are experiencing all the trials and tribulations as well as the victories of the magnificent protagonist, Elena Princess of Wales.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Natalie Frank

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Natalie Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Natalie Frank 

        8 months ago from Chicago, IL

        Your welcome Bill. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        8 months ago from Olympia, WA

        I do love a good mystery, but I was beginning to think all the good ones had already been written. Thanks for the review. I'll have to check this one out.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)