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Princess Izzy and the E Street Shuffle    by Beverly Bartlett order for
Princess Izzy and the E Street Shuffle
by Beverly Bartlett
Order:  USA  Can
5 Spot, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Young Yale graduate Isabella Cordage weds Raphael, Rafie, a childhood friend who is also the Prince of a small country, Bisbania. As expected, Isabella is indoctrinated into the splendor and glamour of royal life and the gossipy and unforgiving nature of Bisbanian tabloids. Princess Isabella is unattractively deemed 'Dizzy Izzy' initially, though reporters are fickle and shortly thereafter portray her as a trend setting beauty, the picture of royal perfection.

Being the Royal Highness of Bisbania is a story in and of itself, but the book is narrated by someone not revealed to the reader until towards the end and the story entails a mystery that includes scandal, intrigue and even a possible murder. Alas, the narrator takes her time as she fills in the background of Isabella and Raphael's marriage, including an unusual friendship between Isabella and a mechanic from her Yale days. Geoffrey, would regularly inspect Isabella's vehicle in the United States for security purposes, and the two developed a friendship wherein Geoffrey often espoused the wisdom of Bruce Springsteen's music, commenting on his lyrics to Isabella. In fact, Geoffrey helped Isabella become an international icon by giving her Springsteen sprinkled advice, including on what to wear to the next important royal function. Isabella arranges for Geoffrey and his wife Mae to come to Bisbania and for Geoffrey to serve as a royal mechanic, of sorts, so that their friendship and Geoffrey's guidance to Isabella continues.

A plane crash occurs - Geoffrey and Rafie are on the plane, but only one body washes up on shore. What follows is an unusual mystery that's clever and laced with deception. Meanwhile, the reader waits with bated breath to learn the identity of the narrator, who appears to be well acquainted with Isabella. Princess Izzy and the E Street Shuffle is an unusual read, part chick lit and part mystery. While the plot waned a bit midway through the book, the unique storyline held my interest and the pace picked up again towards the end.

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