Friday, 14 September 2018

New Release Spotlight & Review: The Pretender by Katie Ward

The Pretender by Katie Ward
France 2000: Two babies are born on the same day just two hours apart - but to very different lives. Isabella is a Princess and heir to the French throne, while Sophia is born into a life of poverty and abuse at the hands of her father. At the age of 18, Sophia runs away from home. That same night, Isabella is also fleeing from the burden of her royal life when she finds Sophia slumped at the palace gates. Amazed by how alike they look, Isabella proposes a daring plot - to exchange their lives for one week. 
‘The Pretender’ is an emotionally intense and compelling story of friendship, love and the strange power of destiny.

The Pretender is an enchanting novel. Set in France, it's a modern retelling of the classic Prince and the Pauper.

Sophia Lazarus escaped her abusive childhood by attending boarding school. Now, after celebrating her eighteenth birthday and finishing her last term at school, she goes back to her childhood home to make peace with her family. Reunited with the sister who protected her as a small child, her happiness is short-lived when her father makes it clear she's not welcome. Leaving, she revisits the place she loved to go as a small child...the palace gates, only to be met by the most unexpected person...Princess Isabelle. From that moment on, Sophia's life would never be the same again.

With the weight of the world on her shoulders, Princess Isabella feels trapped. She longs to explore and experience life beyond the palace walls and to be free. Unfortunately, her status within the French Royal family means she has to conduct her life according to royal protocol. After an argument with her father, King Henri, Isabella flees the palace but meets a young woman similar in age near to the palace gates. The result? The pair hatches a ridiculous plan by swapping identities with life-changing consequences.

I don't dip into the New Adult world very often and wasn't sure what to expect. What I found was a delightful twenty-first-century fairy tale complete with a charming prince and a villainous father. That doesn't mean the narrative is light and fluffy, far from it… The young protagonists soon learn the consequences of their actions don't always give a positive effect and not every decision ends well. The power of friendship shines through along with uncovering new responsibilities as Isabella and Sophia embark on a journey of personal discovery whilst gaining a new respect for those from differing backgrounds.

This novel has a broad reader appeal from young teens and beyond. The entertaining narrative flows at a steady pace covering some sensitive topics sympathetically, yet still manages to maintain an uplifting feel-good vibe. As with any well-regarded fairytale, there's a satisfying happy-ever-after...a perfect ending for both Sophia and Isabella.

***arc generously received courtesy of the publisher*** 
Katie Ward always knew she wanted to write for a living. However, she was told by her careers advisor that “it might be more appropriate for you to work in a shop”. When Katie didn’t get the grades she needed to get into college, she negotiated a three month trial. After successfully completing the course she secured a place at her first choice university to study Journalism.
After realising she wanted to be an author, Katie moved to Dublin where she worked her way up from receptionist to Executive Assistant at Merrill Lynch. Katie continued to write in her spare time, submitting her short story into the “Do the Write Thing” competition being run by Irish TV show ‘Seoige and O’Shea’. This story was originally written when Katie was 14 after she was inspired by an article in her favourite teen magazine. Katie was the only non-Irish author selected to have her story published in an anthology of the same name which reached 19 in the Irish Best sellers List. Katie was also shortlisted for a competition judged by MAN Booker Prize winning author Roddy Doyle which was run by Metro Eireann newspaper.
Katie currently lives in Devon with her cat (aka ‘Her Royal Fluffiness’) where she sings in a community choir and has recently taken up Archery. Katie’s favourite author has been Roald Dahl since she was a child as she loves the dark edge he brings to his books. On the flip side though, Katie loves Disney, magic, unicorns and a good rom com film at the cinema with her friends.

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