Princess Ben, by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch

I first heard of this book because my mother-in-law owns it, geriatrician and there’s a chance that she purchased it because of the title — having, after all, a son named Ben. However, both she and my sister-in-law said it was a good book in any case, so I read it. Ms. Murdoch is the sister of Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote that Eat Pray Love book that people seem to like; both were born in Connecticut (obviously, being sisters), and read quite a bit as children. Ms. Murdoch studied architecture in college, and is a big fan of buildings; she also gardens ‘obsessively,’ and did not play football in high school. (I assume that has something to do with one of her other books.)

Princess Ben, or more formally Benevolence, is the niece of the current king of Montagne; her father is the current king’s brother. However, the king and his queen have no children, so Ben is officially the heir. Mostly, that fact doesn’t impact her life; her mother, a healer and herbalist, has charge of most of her education . . . until one day, while paying tribute at the grave of the old king, the king and Ben’s mom are killed. Ben’s dad is missing, presumed dead, and the country blames Drachensbett, the country surrounding Montagne, for all of it. Now Ben is an orphan, and her aunt, the queen regnant, realizes that it’s imperative that Ben is trained properly . . . and married off properly . . . Continue reading Princess Ben, by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch