November 15, 2013

King Nathaniel Stratton

Joy here! First of all I would like to thank King Nathaniel for giving me his permission to write this feature. I do believe this is the first time we have ever hosted a royal, and I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty excited about it. =)

I think it was about 6 months ago when I first heard about a book called Once Upon A Prince. I remember seeing the cover posted (repeatedly) on my Facebook thread, encompassed by words of anticipation and multiple exclamation points. And I thought to myself, “What a clever title. And I like the cover. I should read that book.”

Fast forward to the present. I was minding my own business, skimming my Facebook thread, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but Once Upon A Prince. I hastened (because we never rush, we hasten…) to Amazon and purchased the book. And girls, I did not put it down. I couldn’t. Because King Nathaniel (or Nate, as I will refer to him henceforth) captured my hero-girl heart and held on tight. I suppose it was inevitable. We grow up watching Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Sleeping Beauty. Our little girl dreams are for a prince who will fall in love with us at first sight, overcome any obstacles in his way, and lead us off to ‘happily ever after’. As adults we learn that it isn’t that simple, or easy. And let’s face it ladies, real princes are hard to come by. Anyone else want to fess up to a crush on young Prince William or Harry? (Thank you. Yes, I see those hands.)

But what if it could happen? And that is the beauty of Once Upon A Prince. Because Rachel Hauck takes a little piece of what every girl dreams of, dusts it off, and gives it wings. She reminds us that it’s okay to still believe in true love, and that you don’t need a fairy tale to find it. Susanna and Nate are real people. They have real world problems. But they also have true love (which is the greatest thing in the world, except for a nice MLT-mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich… Ahem- sorry. Moving on.)

This book is real. It’s also innocent and charming, much like the King himself. And I loved every moment of him. It. I meant it.

 

About Once Upon A Prince (released May, 2013):


Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess---just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn't going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.
The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simons Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family's tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna's aid under the fabled Lover's Oak, he is blindsided by love.
Their lives are worlds apart. He's a royal prince. She's an ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel's coronation. It's the ultimate choice: His kingdom or her heart? God's will or their own?

 

Excerpt from Once Upon A Prince:


          She jumped up. Nate. Goodness, she’d forgotten him. Left him in the waiting area.
           The door eased open and two nurses entered.
           “…he’s been sitting there all night,” said one of the nurses. “I can’t keep my eyes off him. He’s like a fine painting,” said the nurse with the name tag that read Kasey. “Hey there, Mr. Truitt.”           “He’s sleeping,” Susanna said. “Did you say a man was still sitting in the waiting room?”
           “The handsome one.” Kasey typed in notes on Daddy’s bedside computer. “Hasn’t budged in the last hour. Said he was waiting for a woman.” She arched her brow. “You that woman?”
           “Of course not.” Well, not that woman in that tone. Susanna gently kissed Daddy’s cheek, then whispered, “I love you. You have all my prayers.”
           She hurried down the hall on tiptoe, trying not to disturb the patients with the click-clack of her heels against the tile. Her legs pushed against the constraints of her tight skirt. Her heart thumped against the confinement of her expectations.
           Why had he waited so long?
           Yet, when she rounded the nurses’ station, the chairs were empty. Susanna stopped cold. So he’d finally gone. Disappointment smarted as she slowly finished her route to the chairs.
          Well, good for him. He shouldn’t have hung around for so long.
           But oh, it would’ve been nice to thank him. Again. Twice in four days he’d been her knight in shining armor.
           Maybe she could contact Mrs. Butler’s event coordinator, see if she’d release his phone number or address.
           “Thanks, Nate,” Susanna whispered to the cold waiting area as she sank down into the nearest chair, her thoughts drifting toward how she was going to get home.
           “Susanna?”
           She looked up into Nate’s fine face. He stood over her with a cup of coffee in his hand.
           “I thought you’d gone.” She rose to meet him, hand pressed against her stomach as her heart splashed down. He was dashing, with his cocky grin and confident glint in his eyes.
           “I’m still here. Just went for coffee.” He hoisted his vending-machine cup. “Would you like some?”
           “No, no. Thank you.” She sank to the chair again, bone tired. “W-why did you stay?”
           “To see how you-and your father- fared.”
           He took the seat next to her, feeling as if she were seeing him for the first time, seeing beyond his high, fine features, beyond the sense that he carried a hundred years of history in his bones.
           He was handsome, yes, but kind was the first word that came to Susanna’s mind when she thought of him- at Lover’s Oak, leading her down the hall to the Butler’s secret garage. Comforting her on the drive to the hospital.
           “I don’t always need to be rescued,” she said, out of the blue, out of her heart.
           His smile challenged the waiting-room shadows. “Would it be bad if you did?”
          She regarded him with wide eyes. “Do you know a man who wants a woman who always needs to be rescued?”
           “Sometimes it does a chap’s heart good to rescue a beautiful woman. Makes him remember why God rescued him.” His velvet confession brushed her heart.
           “You are a very interesting man, Nate Kenneth.”
           “You are a fascinating woman, Susanna Truitt.” He sipped his coffee. “Tell me, how is your father?”
           “Good. He’s lucky. It’s a mild blockage. They’ll do an angioplasty in the morning.”
           “My father” – Nate settled back against the vinyl blue chair - “battles leukemia.”
           “Nate, I’m sorry.” It was the first time she considered whether he had a father or parents.
           “He’s been failing the last few months.” Emotion accented his eyes. “I quite regret all the years I fought him, believing I knew better, rebelled.” He laughed at his comment. “I’m a brave man, am I not? To realize the errors of my youth just as my father is ailing?”
           “Better than after he’s gone.”
           Nate smiled, nodding. “It’s what I love about you Americans. No fussing about. Just say it plain.”
           “Plain? I don’t think I’ve been saying things very plain the past decade of my life.” She slid back against the seat and rested her head against the back of the chair. “I’m too tired to go home.”           “Then we’ll just sit here and rest,” Nate said.
           With a slow breath out, Susanna released the tension of the night, of the day, of the weekend, and drew strength from Nate’s calm company.

Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.


Gallant Score

I think one of Nate’s names (and he has 4 =) should be Gallant. It’s impossible to miss the orange here. What’s great about it, though, is that it’s genuine. Gallantry is knit into Nathaniel’s DNA. I know, I know, he’s attracted to Susanna. But I really believe he would step up and sacrifice for anyone, because it’s who he is. Any man who is willing to scrub toilets because that’s where his help is needed is more than worth his weight in gold. The fact that Nathaniel is royalty just makes his sweet, humble spirit that much more appealing.


Wounded Score

Nathaniel isn’t as deeply wounded as most of the other heroes you’ll find in our roster. (I think Nancy and I will both admit to a weakness for wounded heroes.) Which is another reason why Nate was good for me. Instead of being trapped in his past, Nathaniel battles present-day realities. He must decide who he is, and who he is going to become. Is becoming king really a call from God? Or merely a birthright handed down for generations? And let’s not lessen the importance of the weight of a world (or 2) on his broad shoulders. The burdens Nathaniel has to carry as King give texture and depth to his character.


Softie Score

Nate is king. And I think we’d all agree that there’s a certain hardness that comes with being in charge. Nate has to be mature and responsible. But take away the crown, and the responsibilities, and Nate’s inner softie comes shining through. Picture our king laughing and carefree as he takes on his brother in a snowball fight, and you’ve pretty much got the idea. It’s something I imagine Jesus doing, and that made this moment that much sweeter for me.


Stupid Strikes

Because Susanna is a weakness, I think Nate allows that to hinder his better judgment. As a result, situations arise that could have been avoided. I’m giving Nate one strike because he forgot to be gallant in this moment, and it wasn’t pretty.

Swoon Score

To quote Mama Glo: “Oh my stars-a-mighty.” Tall, dark, and handsome fans put your hands in the air! Nathaniel is your man. But what I liked best about our king is that Nathaniel is a man after God’s own heart. He seeks after it it. Hungers for it. And he challenges Susanna to do the same. It’s glorious. And any lingering doubt I may have had about whether Nathaniel belonged here disappeared at the proposal. Girls. THE. PROPOSAL. There should be words to describe how utterly and completely perfect this moment is, but here is the best I can do: go back to THE moment at the end of North & South with Richard Armitage. Feel that? Uh huh. Put that in words and there you have it. S.W.O.O.N.

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, best selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as the RITA nominated The Wedding Dress and Love Starts with Elle, part of the Lowcountry series. She also penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Booklist named their novel, Softly and Tenderly, one of 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals. A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in an uncomfortable chair to write full-time in 2004. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker. Rachel writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.


The FHF Exclusive Directly from the Author

I pretty much left all of Nathaniel on the field. ;) He rebelled against his dad as a youth but that's in the story. He hired an inspector to watch Susanna when he went back home and I had a bit of a scene with Jonathan, his aide, over it. But I cut that angle. Here's a snippet.

“She's still working at the Rib Shack.” He eased down into the chair adjacent Nathaniel. “Doing a few landscaping jobs but nothing stellar.”
“Call off the inspector. I don't want to know anymore.”
“She could've sold these pictures to the Informant.”
“Why? For money? She doesn’t care that much about money, Jon.”
“Everyone says they don’t care about money until they are sitting on a gold mine.” Jonathan shrugged. “Maybe this is her comeuppance for breaking her heart.”
“I didn't break her heart. She never even told me she loved me.”
“Just a theory.”
“What do Madeline and Hyacinth know?”
Jonathan sighed. “We tried to find out but their office is tight as a drum. Not leaking a word. Even our inside source can’t be found. Word is the Informant's web site crashed this morning with people checking out the picture, leaving comments.”
“Do you think she’s here? In Brighton?”
“Our dog on the ground in St. Simon's says she's at her parents, working at the restaurant.”
Nathaniel moved to the window. A southern breeze kicked over the island last week and melted the December snow. “Of course, why would she come?” He turned to Jon. “Any word on the other thing?”

 

The giveaways

Same drill as always! One copy of Once Upon A Prince, print or e-book (winner’s choice), goes to a randomly drawn commenter. Make sure you tell us if you want in the book drawing and leave an email address in a spam fighting format like: see you (at) Lover’s Oak dot com

If you have already enjoyed Once Upon A Prince, a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card can be yours if you leave the name of a character from the book in your comment. Again, once the character name has been used, you have to find another.

And since we’re on the subject of fairy tales and princes and true love, I want to hear from you. What is your favorite “royal” romance movie/fairy tale? And yes, Disney movies totally count. *The first person who can identify (no cheating with Google, peeps) the movies I quoted in my feature will get an extra 2 entries in the drawing of their choice.* On your mark… get set… GO!

49 comments:

Gretchen E.K. Engel said...

I can't admit to a crush on William and Harry. Not because they're unattractive, but because when I was starting my career they were in the British prep school version of junior high. Now I remember the royal wedding of Charles and Diana. Although I didn't get up at 0-dark-thirty to watch it.
I've been dying to read Once Upon A Prince. Yes, it's the cover. I'm judging away.
Favorite royal romance. Hmm. I've got to go with the classic, Cinderella.

Abbi Hart said...

Ahh this book was amazing and Nathaniel was awesome and definitely hero feature worthy! The staying at the hospital and cleaning toilets parts...sigh...totally swoon worthy! I cannot wait for Princess Ever After!
As for my favorite royal romance Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite Disney princess and I can't think of any other royal movies that trump it right now so...
I'm going to name Aurora as my character and the movie quotes are from Princess Diaries 2 and The Princess Bride (there were only two right, or did I miss one?)

Dawn Crandall said...

I haven't read anything by Rachel before, but I think this book sounds wonderful. :) I would like to be in the book drawing please. Crandallberries at gmail dot com.

Britney Adams said...

Love it!! What a fabulous book and wonderful hero Nathaniel was! I am eager to read Princess Ever After in February! Beauty and the Beast is one of my Disney favorites, but I love all the happily ever afters!

Please enter me into the gift card drawing; I am naming Adam Peters.

texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

Joy W. Doering said...

Congrats Abbi for correctly naming the quoted movies! Princess Diaries 2 and The Princess Bride both happen to be royal romances. Is there anyone who doesn't like Princess Bride?
You're in the gift card drawing with AURORA- and, you get 2 extra chances to win! Yay!
Beauty and the Beast is still the BEST Disney Princess movie. Because we all know it's about the girl getting the library. ;)

Joy W. Doering said...

Here I thought I was checking the page early and the party already started! :) Always great to see you here, Gretchen. Don't feel bad- as I admitted, the cover was the first thing that drew me to this book, too. And I am trying to recover (haha!) from cover judging. But it's soooooo hard.
Cinderella is a classic. I think I may have to admit to seeing the Rodger's and Hammerstein musical more times than the animated movie, though. My daughters love both. :)

Rachel Hauck said...

Thanks for the feature you guys! Or should I say "Y'all!"

Nathaniel was a bit of a challenge. His wound was Adel rejecting him publicly so he steered away from romance. :) I loved how he wouldn't go after Susanna when he thought it would break her heart. He didn't say he loved her. Didn't try to make her stay in Brighton. He knew the life ahead of him and it was asking a lot for a women with no "grid" for public life to join him, give up her family and her country...

Oooo, I'm giving away the plot of A March Bride which is Nathaniel and Susanna's wedding story.

Thanks everyone for reading. It's an honor to tell you stories!

Rachel

Rachel Hauck said...

Funny tidbit... My hubby and I were watching some of Once Upon A Time while I was writing this book and he got really fed-up on time with Prince Charming and said, "Let's just call him Prince Pathetic!" LOL

So I wanted to make sure I didn't create a Prince Pathetic too. Ha!

Okay... there you go...

Sally said...

Fairy tales and princes and princesses are all the rage now, aren't they? It makes for fun reading and TV watching. :)

My favorite princess story would have to be Ever After with Drew Barrymore, not that she was a great actress in it (cause she wasn't!), but it was the first time I'd seen a fairy tale made into a real life story, and that story was amazing!

I'm in it for the gift card.

Joy W. Doering said...

Hey Dawn! This was my first Rachel Hauck book, and (obviously) I am a fan. :) I am looking forward to the next book. We'll get you entered in the boom drawing for sure. Always good to see you. :)

Joy W. Doering said...

Positive feedback from the regulars means I got it right. :) Thanks for the comment, Britney. We'll get your name in the hat for the gift card with ADAM PETERS.
I love happily ever afters, too. Although one of royal romance movies I love is Anna and the King. And it doesn't really have a happy ending.

Patty said...

I read and loved Once Upon a Prince just a few months ago. I have a copy of the Wedding Dress but haven't read it yet...

Cinderella has to be my favorite fairy tale.

I have read the book so would love to be entered for the gift card. I am naming Lady Genevieve, aka Ginny as another character in the book.

pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)Com

Joy W. Doering said...

Hey Sally! If you've read Once Upon A Prince, then I need a character name from you that hasn't already been mentioned here to enter you in the gift card drawing. :)
I love Ever After. :) But I think my favorite character is Gustav. Haha.

Joy W. Doering said...

I see what you did there. Not nice to drop a teaser like that! :) I was wondering, though, if we were going to get the rest of the story, because really, Prince is just the beginning. All the hard stuff is ahead.
Thanks again for sharing Nathaniel with us!

Joy W. Doering said...

Ugh- I'm with your husband. I was so happy when they broke the curse and Charming came back. David was just laaaaaaaaame.

Joy W. Doering said...

I love the cover of The Wedding Dress. It's really simple but intriguing.
Another Cinderella fan! :) Hooray.
We'll get you entered in the gift card drawing with GINNY. Something tells me we haven't seen the last of her. :)

Heidi said...

My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast since she learns to love the real him before discovering he's a prince. My favorite movie with a royal romance is Roman Holiday- so much fun!

Please enter me in your giveaway! Thanks!!!
colorvibrant[at]gmail[dot]com

Melissa Jagears said...

put me in for the book please, contemporary royal meets commoner is always a draw for me!

Melissa Jagears said...

rmjagears AT gmail DOT com

Joy W. Doering said...

I've never seen Roman Holiday, but now I'm curious. Your name is in the hat for the book drawing. Thanks for stopping by, Heidi.

Joy W. Doering said...

Hey Melissa- you got it! Good to see you!

Melanie Backus said...

Great book and great author. Please enter me in the gift card giveaway as I am naming Aunt Glo.

mauback55 at gmail dot com

Pam K. said...

I think Once Upon a Prince is the perfect romance novel so I'm glad to see Nate featured here. He is a very worthy Fiction Hero. I liked the book so much I'd like to be in the running to win a copy of my own (I borrowed the book from a friend). I'm looking forward to the rest of the books in this series.
Rachel's book, The Wedding Dress, is also very good. I've read it twice, once on my own, and then again about a year later for book club. I liked it even more the second time.
I guess my favorite royal movie would be The Princess Bride.
pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

Joy W. Doering said...

Thanks for the comment Melanie. You are entered in the gift card drawing with MAMA GLO.

Joy W. Doering said...

Hi Pam! Thanks for leaving a comment. I'm glad you love Nate as much as I do. We'll enter your name in the book drawing. And happy to find another Princess Bride fan, too. :)

Lisa Godfrees said...

I would totally read this, so please enter me in the drawing. I love fairy tales!! And I agree with you, Joy, the cover is stunning and the title is clever.

Nancy knows how to reach me via email, so I won't leave my address here. Thanks!

Barbara Thompson said...

I love this book and been trying to win it. This book sounds fantastic. My favorite fairy tale is Cinderella. I've always been a Cinderella girl. I would love to be entered in the drawing and would prefer a print copy of this wonderful book. Thank you for the chance to enter this giveaway and please enter my name
Barbara Thompson
barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

Carol Moncado said...

Argh. I'm so awful with names :(.

Um... what about Adam? Isn't that the Marine's name?

I loved this one. Can't wait for the next one and the novella!

Amazon please? ;)

Carol Moncado said...

Shoot. Someone already got him and I missed it.

What about Gage? Isn't that the guy she works for in landscaping?

Beyond that, I'll have to go find my book :p.

Joy W. Doering said...

Hey Lisa, sure thing! Glad you stopped by for this one. :)

Joy W. Doering said...

Hey Barbara! We'll add your name to the drawing for the book.
Another fan of Cinderella. Sure seems to be the most popular choice here. :) Thanks for the comment.

Joy W. Doering said...

No worries, Carol. You're in the gift card drawing with GAGE. :)
Always good to see you here!

Angi said...

Oh my! Nate sounds wonderful! I love stories where royalty falls in love with the commoner. I guess I still have some of the little girl left in me. :) But I love that he stayed up at the hospital waiting for her. How sweet. My interest has been piqued!

My favorite fairytale is Cinderella. Have always loved that story. And I have a new favorite, which I am currently watching on the Hallmark Channel, called "A Princess For Christmas", which I think goes really well with this particular post. Good job, Joy!

Please enter me in the drawing for a print copy. Thank you! :)

bookwarp(at)gmail(dot)com

Debra Smith said...

I have wanted to read this book for awhile. Thanks for the giveaway. debradawn777(at)gmail(dot)com

Joy W. Doering said...

Thanks for your kind words, Angi. :) Glad you enjoyed the feature. I'm wondering if Cinderella is the crowd favorite because it's the first one we watch as kids? I know it was the first one I saw. Most of the others are so intense (Little Mermaid is awful). Just a theory.
Your name is in the hat for a copy of the book!

Joy W. Doering said...

Hey Debra! Thanks for the comment. :) We'll enter you in the drawing for a copy of the book. :)

Keri-Elizabeth Walker said...

I actually saw this book while I was browsing amazon for new books to read. I've had it on my to read list since. I would love to be added to the drawing for the book. My email is keletitbe14 at gmail dot com.

Sleeping Beauty aka Aurora is my favorite princess. I think it's more about her name than about her story for me.

Anonymous said...

I love Beauty and the Beast but I love pretty much most fairy tales because I like stories and movies with happy endings! I would prefer a print copy! a_stonecipher at yahoodotcom!

Karen said...

I love Rachel's books--am anxiously awaiting her newest! Thank you for the giveaway--I'd love to be entered to win a print copy!
karen@fallotfam.com

Anonymous said...

I would like to be entered in the drawing! I love Rachel Hauck, and this cover has made me want to buy it. However, I've been trying to scale back the book-buying while preparing to buy for 4 kids' Christmas gifts. Thanks for entering me to win a print copy!
Holly
ghweaver(at)yahoo dot com

Joy W. Doering said...

Hi Keri! Appreciate you leaving a comment- we will enter you in the book drawing. I think you are the first person to name Sleeping Beauty. :) I always loved the Prince fighting the dragon and storming the castle. My favorite part of the Disney movie is the 3 fairies, though. :)

Joy W. Doering said...

I'm pretty sure Beauty and the Beast tops Cinderella on my list of favorite fairy tales. But I have to say that Tangled comes in pretty close to the top. :)
We'll enter you in the book drawing. Thanks for stopping by!

Joy W. Doering said...

Karen- me too! :) We'll get you in the book drawing. :)

Joy W. Doering said...

Holly, I totally understand budgeting for Christmas gifts. :) Glad you stopped by for a chance to win. Consider yourself entered. :)

Sonja said...

I would love to win this book. Sounds really good. I love happy endings!

J:-)mi said...

How many characters are in the story to leave names of? :-D Obviously Susanna and Nathaniel since they're the main characters. I know Aurora has been mentioned a few times. I'm gonna pick one I doubt anyone else will mention - Sheree.
Favorite royalty romance movie... well Calamity Jane doesn't count, no royalty there, that's my favorite romance though :-)
Hmm... how about Royal Wedding - it's got Fred Astaire dancing in it, don't get much better than that!
I majorly prefer print to e-books. I avoid e-books as much as possible.
~ J:-)mi, aka CTF Devourer
egilkinc @ juno . com

Joy W. Doering said...

Hello again Sonja- thanks for the comment. We'll enter your name in the book drawing. :)

Joy W. Doering said...

SHEREE will get your name tossed into the hat for the gift card drawing.
Thanks for leaving a comment. :)

Nancy Kimball said...

Okay hero girls we might have to seriously start using rafflecopter, LOL. I just spent fifteen minutes copying and pasting your names into the respective list randomizers at random.org (and Abbi Hart got her two extra) and here we go...
drumroll...
(come on, make the noise in your head)...

WINNER of the $10 gift card is J:-)mi

WINNER of the copy of Once Upon A Prince is Dawn Crandall

Thank you so much to Rachel, Joy, and everyone who shared the Nathaniel love and fairytale stories. =)