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My Fair Princess

Book 1, The Improper Princesses

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


First, Vanessa Kelly brought readers The Renegade Royals. Now, in a delightfully witty new series, she introduces The Improper Princesses—three young women descended from royalty, each bound for her own thrilling adventure . . .

Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is happily ignorant of all social graces. After growing up wild in Italy, Gillian has been ordered home to England to find a suitable husband. And Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton, has agreed to help transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante.

Powerful and sophisticated, Charles can make or break reputations with a well-placed word. But his new protégée, with her habit of hunting bandits and punching earls, is a walking scandal. The ton is aghast . . . but Charles is thoroughly intrigued. Tasked with taking the hoyden in hand, he longs to take her in his arms instead. Can such an outrageous attraction possibly lead to a fairytale ending?
Praise for Vanessa Kelly’s Renegade Royals series

“Will definitely resonate with fans of Mary Jo Putney and Joanne Bourne.” —Booklist

“Kelly combines diverting dialogue, delightful surprises and finely tuned pacing to make this a winner.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 20, 2016 – Kelly's Improper Princesses Regency series opens gallantly with well-thought-out characters, madcap adventures, and London's cunning, cagey elite. Gillian Dryden's royal bloodline can't completely make up for her illegitimate birth and wild upbringing in Sicily. She becomes a target of Sicilian bandits and is brought back to England to be safely schooled in refinement and married off. Charles, Duke of Leverton, who's known as Perfect Penley, grudgingly agrees to be her social tutor. After Gillian assaults a boorish earl and shoots a robber, she is further tarnished socially. Gillian's continued recklessness and lack of decorum challenge Charles, and she begins to chip away at his controlled life. Gillian's antics imbue her story with energy and some intrigue, but the most affecting part of Kelly's tale is Charles's development as he falls in love with Gillian and breaks free of complacency and propriety. This is a fun ride with a colorful, adventurous heroine and a happily disconcerted, formerly perfect hero.

Customer Reviews

Loved it!

After years of being exiled from England because of being born on the wrong side of the blanket Gillian Dryden is now back. Her family is desperate to have her excepted into the Ton, so they ask a distant cousin for help, Charles Valentine Penley, Sixth Duke of Leverton also known as "Perfect Penley". Charles can't see how he could possibly help but he can't say no to his aunt Lucy and once he meets Gillian he sees the little hoyden as a lost cause but he's honor bond to help. Gillian is strong willed and outspoken at best. She had to be strong and shield herself for years from others she can't see why want her to fit in because she doesn't give a fig if she does. At least that's what she says.
The really fun starts as these two continue to bump heads on what's proper and what's not. The banter between Charles and Gillian is hilarious and touching and at times heartbreaking. Gillian turns his well ordered and perfect world upside down. She knows what's said about her and knows she's not worthy of Charles or anyone else.
I loved the suspense and how it wasn't what I thought it would be. The romance and sexual tension was so good and hot these two wounded souls deserved their HEA!

Great start to a new series

Gillian is in an uncomfortable situation. She is thrown into the London life without the skills to navigate. Her past hurts her chances. Her family believes she can find a husband if she learns to be a proper lady. Charles is a proper gentleman who is asked to teach her. Between his near-perfect patience and her unpredictable behavior, they spark against each other and fall in love. I loved the honesty of Gillian despite expectations, and Charles was adorable every time he lost his perfect facade. I could not put down this book and highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Pure, unadulterated fun with scintillating dialogue, great characters and a seriously long overdue p

What happens when a Duke and peer of the realm, known for his rigid adherence to social norms, aversion to scandal and a serious fire poker up his butt is tasked with reforming the infamous illegitimate daughter of one of the royals? Fun. Pure, unadulterated fun with scintillating dialogue, great characters and a seriously long overdue poker-ectomy.

I flew through this story in one sitting, the premise of a Pygmalion-like transformation of a young woman who is rarely swayed by other people’s opinions or conventional thinking. Gillian is a spectacularly unique character – driven by a strong sense of judgment, a fierce temper and a dash of impulsivity. She’s smart and kind, loyal and completely unconcerned and uninterested in her place in English society.

Griffin is solidly aware of his responsibilities and completely averse to scandal. Willing, however, to use his social capital and his reputation to help Gillian succeed and find an appropriate husband now that she’s returned to England from Sicily. His own impressions of Gillian aren’t as dismissive or downgrading: he’s intrigued by her intelligence, her wit and humor, and she is certainly a challenge to his temper. Fortunately for Griffin, Gillian is JUST what he needs to bring amusement into his life, and his sister is completely intrigued with her brother’s first emotional reactions to a woman in years.

Gillian tests every fibre of Griffin’s being, in all the best ways. She’s completely unfettered by typical social conventions, desperate to shield her mother from societal censure, and completely uninterested in all things English. She is, however, wonderfully kind, inquisitive and caring – not wishing to make her mother’s life, or anyone else’s life difficult. She just wants to go home to Sicily. Griffin, although he believes he is to set Gillian on the correct path to an advantageous marriage, is finding that he’s wanting more. And the path to the eventual ending is wonderfully paved with intrigue, moments of tension, honesty and plenty of heart. A wonderful read that has jumped into my favorites, with Gillian and Griffin moving to the top of my faves from Vanessa Kelly.

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Other Books in This Series

My Fair Princess
View in iTunes
  • $4.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Historical
  • Published: Aug 30, 2016
  • Publisher: Kensington
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Series: Book 1, The Improper Princesses
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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