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Secrets of a South Beach Princess    by Mary Kennedy order for
Secrets of a South Beach Princess
by Mary Kennedy
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

The story opens with Amber Fielding perfectly posed beside her father's hotel pool in South Beach, Florida. She's toned, tanned, and about to become the object of even more modeling attention. Her life is picture perfect - living in the penthouse suite of one of the most famous hotels and surrounded by her three awesome friends, with the whole summer stretching out before her. What's a girl to do? When filmmaker Nick Crawford shows up with his smoldering green eyes, Amber is drawn in and finds herself quickly falling for him.

Author Mary Kennedy's Secrets of a South Beach Princess follows the story as Amber's relationship with Nick gets increasingly confusing. First he invites her to a romantic dinner. Then his picky mother accompanies them. After they drop Mrs. Crawford off at home, the evening heats up - only for Amber to find Nick hitting on her friend Shay the next day. What is going on with this guy? Amber gets jittery whenever he's filming her, which seems to happen a lot. Amber's brother Todd thinks Nick is nothing but trouble - and soon all signs seem to point in that direction. Amber, the new It Girl of Miami, soon learns that she needs to be careful about just exactly what is getting caught on tape, for her own good.

Compared to Mary Kennedy's other main characters - such as in Tales of a Hollywood Gossip Queen - Amber Fielding seems to fit the trite stereotype of the unintelligent blond bombshell. She gets herself into situations that make the reader wince - such as allowing herself to be herded alone into an elevator with a drunken, rock star. The reader turns the pages to uncover Nick's mystery, only to find Amber being saved from sticky situations by others. In the end, the reader wonders just how much she has really grown up beyond her narrow cappuccino-sipping world. But, as usual, Kennedy does a great job of portraying Amber's friendships, and having her realize some of the things that are really the most important in life.

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