Title: The Poet Prince: A Novel
Author: Kathleen McGowan
Release Date: 5/25/2010
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Maureen Paschal is on another book tour, promoting the book she wrote after finding a gospel written by Jesus himself. She is just settling down, recovering from her chaotic schedule over the past few months, when a revelation about her lover Berenger Sinclair shocks her to the core. Along with her friends, Maureen flees to Florence to seek out Destino, a wise teacher from the Order, in order to understand more about the part she is to play in events to come.
I enjoyed Kathleen McGowan’s first two books in her Magdalene line series (The Expected One and The Book of Love), so I was excited to read The Poet Prince. I couldn’t wait to find out what adventures Maureen and her friends would embark on next and what shocking discoveries were waiting for them.
Originally, this series was supposed to be a trilogy, but from the ending of The Poet Prince, it’s clear that McGowan has made a decision to extend it. This has both positive and negative consequences. The positive is that it allows McGowan to develop more fully the mythology she has so carefully expounded upon in the first two books. The alternate history of the church that she has created is both intriguing and very well done. Additionally, Maureen is an endearing character and any extra time the reader gets to spend with her is worth it.
However, the expansion of the trilogy also means that the story is going to move much slower going forward. The Poet Prince wasn’t really about Maureen; instead, it took the reader to the past, to the time of Lorenzo de Medici. While The Book of Love also had a historical fiction element, Maureen’s and Matilda’s stories were balanced. They both were the main characters of that novel with independent stories and their own quests to undertake. In this case, Maureen is more of an observer. While Lorenzo’s story is still very well told – after all, McGowan has a real talent at bringing historical characters to life – I can’t help but wish Maureen had more of a part to play, just because I do enjoy reading about her character.
The Magdelene Line series is one I enjoy very much. I like the intrigue and the thriller-esque storylines, but without the sometimes silly sense of urgency that seems to dominate thrillers. These are novels you want to read in order, as each book builds on the ones that came before it. I think it’s a great series and definitely recommend these books to interested readers