Dear Book Lovers,

I love a good romance novel, but recommending one can be tricky. I’m recommending The Prince Charming List by Kathryn Springer for older teenage girls. I think it has some great things going for it. But I also want you to know I have a couple of reservations. First the “I like’s.”

I like that the novel is not nominally Christian. Heather, 21, walks the talk. She has an active prayer life; she reads the Bible, and she attends church. She has a number of Christian friends, her own age and older, who support and help her. However, she is not goody-two-shoes. Heather has mishaps and perplexities. Her faith in God and her sense of humor get her through.

As The Prince Charming List opens she has taken on the running of her birth mother’s beauty salon while her birth parents are on their honeymoon. (Heather  makes contact with her birth mother in another novel). Heather likes the work and seems to have a gift for it, but she fears the beauty business may be a shallow career choice. She wants God’s will and believes He will eventually lead her into something more important. Through experience and in conversation with more mature Christians, she learns that your job is not as important to God as how you let Him use you in that job.

Heather also has two men vying for her attention. One of them looks like a fit with her list—a list of the qualities she wants in a future husband. As Heather spends more time with the gorgeous, intelligent and funny Jared, she sees that she will need more than The List if she is going to choose a good man. She will need God’s wisdom and direction.

I like that answer, but I also like some of the choices Heather makes while she is on the way to it. Though she falls for Jared, she doesn’t abandon her commitments to others even when he tempts her to do so. She also doesn’t toss out her common sense and go to his apartment when he invites her.

And now for my concerns: Heather has been welcomed into the lives of  her birth parents and the novel opens with their wedding. Throw in that Heather’s birth father is a famous movie star and it is all a little too fairy tale. However, most teens will just write it off as fun. My concern is for the teen reader who was adopted. This story element might raise some false expectations for her.

Another concern I have is the novel’s ending. Heather is leaving to visit her boyfriend and there is no mention that she has made arrangements to stay with someone else during that visit. I think teens need something like that spelled out.

The novel is a stand alone. Springer has written other books set in the small town of Prichett, Wisconsin, but the protagonists of those romances are older women.