The Summer of Princess Diana – Editorial Review


Sharing this editorial review for my newest novel! Get your copy here https://tinyurl.com/2w982w2v

Title: The Summer of Princess Diana

Author: Martha Reynolds           

Genre: Women’s Fiction / Coming of Age Fiction

Young American Diana Driscoll is looking forward to attending the London wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, courtesy of her wealthy Father. However, while on a stopover in Switzerland, she receives a phone-call that dramatically changes her plans, and not just for the Summer.

The Summer of Princess Diana opens with a short prologue set in 1976 before moving to 1981. This brief mid-Seventies opener sets the tone of the novel. It’s light, charming, and incredibly readable, while giving a sense of something a little deeper beneath the surface.

Diana is understandably spoiled and indulged, but Ms. Reynolds manages to make her likeable and interesting. Diana is aware of her lucky position in life, and the superficiality she exhibits during the early stages of the book never becomes too irritating.

Following the life-changing conversation with her mother, Ms. Reynolds is careful to realistically develop Diana’s awareness of her impecunious situation without the prose losing its frothy, slightly fun edge and jaunty pace. This skillfully maintains the narrative’s engaging style while subtly drawing out Diana’s hidden depths.

Indeed, Ms. Reynolds has an intrinsic knack for knowing when to leave well alone to let the reader exercise their imagination, or simply sail through with the story. Unpleasant issues are not exactly glossed over, but dealt with in a manner that does not ask too many questions, either of the perpetrators or the reader.

This approach might be viewed as slightly one-dimensional and it could possibly be argued that elements of The Summer of Princess Diana could have been explored with more insight. Nonetheless, this simplistic approach is refreshingly easy to read, cleverly thought-out, and deceptively well-structured.

There is an abundance of fine, descriptive detail throughout the novel which brings the characters and settings vividly to life. In particular, the Swiss countryside is beautifully captured and the seamless blending of the French language with its English counterpart adds complete ease and authenticity to the story.

Once Diana begins to live and work as an au pair with the Brusadin Family, the novel really flies while still keeping the airy, feminine touch to the writing and the sporadic brushstrokes of gently whimsical humor.

The dynamic between the Brusadins and Diana is delicately examined, yet the reader can keenly feel the vulnerabilities, tensions, and subtle power struggles that exist between them all in the Swiss farmhouse. Intrigue, apprehension, and poignancy simmer through this area of the narrative, which combined with the brisk pace, make the majority of The Summer of Princess Diana hard to put down.

Kenny, the Brusadin’s son, evolves from a prototypical, tantrum-throwing toddler to a somewhat pitiful little figure surrounded by foreboding elements. The motif of Diana’s brothers running in front of a car during the prologue, and Kenny doing similar, lends a continuity and possibly premonitory link between his life and hers.

From Diana’s first meeting with Monsieur Brusadin, he exudes mildly predatory behavior. However, it is with his friend, Luigi, that a particularly nasty incident with Diana occurs. This is given more emotional depth than other troubling moments in the novel, highlighting its impact and Diana’s subsequent maturity and growth.

Madame Brusadin’s portrayal is a masterclass in understated poignancy. Through the smallest of expressions and merest of mannerisms, she conveys a wealth of unspoken regret and disillusionment while still clinging to an ill-fated optimism.

The Summer of Princess Diana is a captivating read that navigates some dark issues with sensitivity and a lightness of touch. Reynolds has written an original and absorbing story with a sweetly satisfying ending and a protagonist who, despite her faults, never fails to appeal.

This Editorial Review was written by the Book Review Directory staff. To receive a similarly honest, professional review for one of your own books, click here.

RI Authors Showcase Begins Next Monday!


With 40 local authors participating in this annual event, there are not only great writers to discover, but daily (sometimes twice daily!) giveaways and some excellent prizes at the end of the event. Drawings for the daily giveaways will take place one week after the blog’s publication, and the winner will be notified by email. The author will coordinate delivery of the prize directly with the winner.

This year’s Grand Prize is a $250 Amazon gift card, just in time for holiday shopping. The Bonus Prize is a $100 Amazon gift card, and new this year we have a “Cheer Up You Won Something” prize that consists of a $50 Amazon gift card PLUS your name as a character in author Tim Baird’s new novel. Those are some great prizes!

Now, I chose Amazon because it’s easy. They sell everything and deliver it to you. But….if you win one of these Amazon prizes and would prefer a gift card to somewhere else, I’ll accommodate you if I can. As long as I can make it happen, I will – so if you would rather give the business to your local bookstore or gift shop, I’ll do what I can.

So! Be sure you’re subscribed to this blog – that way you’ll receive every post straight to your mailbox and you won’t miss out. There will be 40 posts in 30 days (yes, we had such interest that I had to double up). Primary features will appear between 1:00 and 2:00 AM (EST) and if there’s a second post that day, it will drop between 1:00 and 2:00 PM (EST). I’ll share all of the posts to my Facebook page as well.

This is your opportunity to not only win books and gift cards and swag. You can also help an author out by following their pages, subscribing to their newsletters, even buying one of their books if you don’t win it. Most of us are independent authors and always grateful for your support.

See you back here next Monday, where I will kick off the month with my new novel and a sweet little giveaway. Until then, be safe, be kind, be happy!

A Playlist for The Summer of Princess Diana


As my novel wends its way through the publication process, I’ve come up with a sweet little playlist to go along with the book. Have a listen!

Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes. Reached #1 in Switzerland, 1981.
The Gambler by Kenny Rogers. Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance, 1980.
Kiss on my List by Hall & Oates. Appeared as the 207th video on MTV’s first day of broadcast, August 1, 1981.
A Woman Needs Love by Ray Parker, Jr. and Raydio. Released in April 1981.
Slow Hand by The Pointer Sisters. Released May 1981.
(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me by Ronnie Milsap. Released June 1981.
A Little in Love by Cliff Richard. Released December 1980.
Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty. The 25th video played on MTV’s Launch Day (8/1/81).
While You See a Chance by Steve Winwood. Released February 1981.

Yes, the novel is set in 1981 – 40 years ago! Great music from that time, at least I think so. And MTV launched on August 1 of 1981, so you can witness the infancy of some of these music videos.

I will provide teasers about the book and its characters throughout the coming months, leading up to the release of what will be my 10th novel (and 11th book), and the final (really ) book set in my beloved Switzerland.