Book review: 'The Lost Prince' is a provocative novel of destiny, free choice and sacrifice

By Cait Orton

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Aug. 17 2012 3:43 p.m. MDT

"THE LOST PRINCE," by Selden Edwards, Dutton, $26.95, 448 pages (f)

In Selden Edwards’ latest novel, “The Lost Prince,” Edwards delves into the topic of destiny, bringing to light the implications of believing and acting in the name of unchangeable fate.

The story begins with Weezie Putman, an elegant woman who renames herself Eleanor after a trip to Vienna. She returns to her home in Boston, recovering from a love cut short by tragedy, but she returns with a prophetic purpose in the form of a journal given to her by her lost loved one.

The journal details her destiny and gives her guidance for major life events. It tells her to start a family and to set up an investment fund that will give her power to make things happen. The journal also reveals the names of those who will be influential individuals in her life, including Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. In short, the journal is her destiny, if she chooses to live according to its prescribed course of actions.

“Eleanor knew that the journal, unbelievable as it might appear, was accurate — it simply was the truth and her destiny, and that’s all there was to it,” Edwards wrote.

The novel includes a clean and sophisticated series of events, more like a checklist that Eleanor must complete in order for her mission to be done. She must plant seeds in America and Vienna so that the right people will be brought to Boston to fulfill a destiny that is kept hush throughout the majority of the novel. Each character plays an important role and is intricately weaved into her destiny in ways that are nearly invisible.

Edwards paints a beautiful picture of Eleanor. She’s strong, fiercely independent and unwavering in her loyalty to the journal. The future of her family and the people she’s surrounded by rests in her hands with every decision she makes, small or large.

But it’s a heavy burden for Eleanor as she battles with what events are within her control, especially as she foresees two world wars and the sinking of the Titanic.

Furthermore, Edwards delicately dances around the meaning of destiny and how much of a person’s fate is predetermined versus choice. At times, Eleanor finds herself wondering what would happen if she chose a different route than what the journal intended for her. But in the end, she realizes that with every deliberate action comes a brighter future for her family, and each step brings her closer to the lost prince of her future.

“You have to act within it. That’s the whole point,” Edwards wrote. “We have to act to make destiny unfold. This is a partnership.”

Edwards' novel is a compelling tale of Eleanor's sacrifices in the name of family and love, reminding readers of the importance of each decision they will make throughout their lives, whether significant or trivial. "The Lost Prince" is clean in language and values, but mature enough to warrant an older audience.

Email: orton.cait@gmail.com

Twitter: CaitOrton

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