Published by Dutton Books (Division of Penguin Books)
Released on August 16, 2012
Advanced Reading Copy, 434 pages
Recently returned from the experience of a lifetime in fin de siècle Vienna, where she met and tragically lost the first great love of her life, Eleanor Burden has no choice but settle into her expected place in society, marry the man she is supposed to marry, and wait for life to come to her. As the twentieth century approaches, hers is a story not unlike that of the other young women she grew up with in the 1890s Boston – a privileged upbringing punctuated by a period of youthful adventure and followed by the inevitable acknowledgement of real life – except for one small difference: Eleanor processes an unshakable belief that she has advance knowledge of every major historical event to come during her lifetime.
But soon the script of events she has written in her mind – a script described by no less than Sigmund Freud as the invented delusions of a hysteric – begins to unravel. Eleanor Burden, at once fragile and powerful, must find the courage of her deepest convictions, discover the difference between predetermination and free will, secure her belief in her own sanity, and decide whether she will allow history to unfold come what may – or use her extraordinary gifts to bend history to her will and deliver for her the life she knows she is meant to have.
In The Lost Prince, Selden Edwards weaves a rich and beautiful tapestry of faith, love and destiny. Eleanor Burden is an amazing character, so full of determination and tremendous strength. I wish that I had read The Little Book prior to starting this one so I would have gotten a full appreciation of her character. Mr. Edwards’ gave us a collection of wonderful and vibrant characters with Eleanor at the very center.
At the center of Eleanor’s world is a little book she calls her Vienna journal. Everything she believes and strives for is in that book. It is her Scripture. At times, her faith is shaken to its core. But her resolve overcomes her doubt and she is able to continue on her foreseen path. Throughout the book, Eleanor struggles with the concepts of predetermination and free will. Is everything written in the journal destined or does she produce those predictions with her careful planning and actions? Her conservations with Will Honeycutt illuminate her struggles on what is destiny and what is free will.
At a time where women had little to no rights, Eleanor was able to become a very powerful woman in her world. Her inner strength attracts some of the most powerful men in their respective fields; yet she is able to be seen as an elegant and proper wife and mother. She is able to live in two different worlds and accomplish so much.
Psychiatry is an underlying theme throughout the book. I found it very interesting to watch the unfolding of the theories of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and William James. All three men play significant roles in Eleanor’s plan to shape her future. Those characters really came to life, especially Sigmund Freud who I found to be a very closed and narrow-minded figure. He isn’t a believer.
Mr. Edwards did a wonderful job capturing a time in our history that is heart-wrenching and terrifying. The First World War was truly horrifying and watching Arnauld try to recover from its devastating effects, you are able to fully grasp what the Lost Generation experienced. Arnauld’s war journal describes, in tremendous detail, how traumatizing and violent war truly is.
From the front cover to the final page, The Lost Prince is a beautiful piece of work. I’m now going to read The Little Book for more wonderful story-telling.