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REVIEW: Ransom My Heart by HRH Mia Thermopolis

Dear HRH Thermopolis*:

006170007x01lzzzzzzzI just finished reading your debut novel, Ransom My Heart. It’s a good novel but flawed, but what can you expect from your debut novel that you wrote while your heart was breaking over the loss of your boyfriend Michael when he went off to Japan to court the Asian honeys. I’ve read many of your journals in the past, although not all of them, but I did pick up the conclusion of your personal story which brought Michael back into your life.

The story of Ransom My Heart has a more loutish hero that I would have expected from a Mia story so ultimately I wasn’t quite sure whether your creator, Meg Cabot, was channeling you while writing (which explained some of the over the top quirks to the heroine) or whether it was just Meg Cabot’s voice and you were a marketing ploy. It could be both, I suppose.

Ransom My Heart is a medieval, designed to appeal to those readers who started with Meg Cabot and the Princess series back in 2002. (The promotional materials suggested that the readers "graduate" to the Ransom My Heart book). By now, those readers are fully of age, most have lost their virginity, and are ready for the full on smexxing that a regular romance novel provides. On the whole, though, the sex scenes are pretty tame, not totally closed door, but nothing terribly explicit.

Finnula is a miller’s daughter, one of six, whose sister found herself pregnant and spent all her dowry money on fripperies so she can’t get a quickie husband like she needs. Apparently, the thing for maidens to do is kidnap a young man and then ransom him back to his family. It sounds so incredible that it must be true. So Finnula sets out to kidnap a man for her sister. She spies a knight recently back from the crusades flashing his coin around in the next village over. Deciding that this knight is the perfect prey, Finnula manages to catch him unawares and capture him.

Hugo Fitzstephen, the new Earl, can’t really believe his good fortune. He’s just recently come back from the Crusades and is delighted to be on his own land where he bagged his first stag, the spring where he had learned to swim, the copse were he had laid with Fat Maude before he fled for the Crusades. Now he is being held captive by a gorgeous sprite of a girl. Hugo knows he can easily extricate himself but finds being captive quite entertaining. After all, the women that preceded Finnula wanted to be chatelaine of Stephensgate Manor but pretended they wanted him while Finnula just badly stated that all she wanted was some of his money.

This is one part a road romance and one part a who is trying to kill Hugo and place the blame on Finnula romance. It has a lighthearted tone and several laugh out loud moments (or at least points in which I giggled quite a bit). It’s flawed, though, as Finnula is portrayed as someone who is not only gorgeous, the best archer in the area, so good to others it makes your teeth ache, and she wants to wear in braes and not dresses, i.e., the stereotypical romance heroine who is just a bit too perfect.

Finnula’s perfectness, though, is offset by Hugo’s loutishness. While Hugo is good to his horse, he basically wants to eat, drink, and tup Finnula. He’s very rude to his squire, constantly humiliating him for no good reason. He’s not a sharp thinker, reaching for the sword before anything else. I didn’t get the sense that Hugo would have been a good leader given that his first inclination is always toward running someone through with his blade or placing people in chokeholds.   I kind of appreciated the imperfection of Hugo as a traditional romance hero.

I was taken aback by the physical descriptions.   Finnula apparently comes up to Hugo’s elbow and it took me several chapters to kind of wipe away that physical comparison.   In some ways, I felt that Finnula was pretty childish in both stature and in demeanor.   

Parts of the story are very farcical but I thought it was done intentionally so I kind of gave it a pass. The whodunit wasn’t really any mystery at all and the end, with the villain giving his goodbye speech seemed quite ridiculous. Again, whether that was intentional or just trite is up to the reader’s point of view. Overall, I’d give this effort a B-.   I’ll miss your personal journals since it appears with Volume X: Forever Princess that those are complete.   Please do continue writing historicals, though.   We need more medievals in the genre.

Best regards,


This book can be purchased on January 6, 2009, in trade paperback from Amazon or ebook format from the Sony Store and other retailers.

* Mia Thermopolis is the narrator of the Princess Diaries, a series penned by author Meg Cabot.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Wendy
    Dec 31, 2008 @ 15:47:13

    Personally I’m waiting for Tina Hakim Baba to write a romance novel.

  2. Diana
    Jan 01, 2009 @ 01:19:53

    I’m a fan of the Princess Diaries books and can’t wait to read this story by Mia. Wendy, a romance novel by Tina would be awesome.

  3. Evangeline
    Jan 01, 2009 @ 03:13:14

    I’ve never read any of the Princess Diaries series (seen the movies tho’), but I loved Meg (Patricia) Cabot’s historical romances–which she wrote before the Princess series. I’ll probably give this a peek, but it appears as though Cabot wrote a romance novel with her tongue in cheek (as opposed to “seriously”) to appeal to the many readers out there who sneer at the genre.

  4. Marianne McA
    Jan 01, 2009 @ 05:01:11

    I’m confused. I read the first of the Princess Diaries, so I know who Mia is, but why is she writing a book?
    Is this like ‘Where’s my cow?’ – an imaginary picture book that Pratchett referenced extensively in ‘Thud’ – which was then published in real life?

  5. Jane
    Jan 01, 2009 @ 09:07:42

    @Marianne McA: Yep Marianne – Mia is the narrator of the Princess Diaries and in the last book – Princess Forever or whatever the title of the book is, Mia wrote a book for her senior project. She told everyone it was a 400 page dissertation of olive presses in her country, Genovia.

    I think all of the royalties to this book are being donated to Greenpeace by Meg Cabot.

  6. hamda elmi
    Jan 21, 2009 @ 13:07:31

    i have not read this book yet but what i have read from this website, i think that this is a very cool book to read GO MIA THERMOPOLIS!( AND meg cabot too of course!)

  7. Deesha
    May 06, 2009 @ 05:15:18

    @Wendy: lolzzz

  8. Deborah
    May 14, 2009 @ 09:07:40

    from what i have seen from Ransom My Heart it is an average romance book. I think (in direct answer to Jane) that it is Meg Cabot writing as Mia would, as i have read several…ok ALL of Meg’s books for ‘older readers’ and i know that if she wanted to write a medieval book then she would have done so with more success than what is achieved by Ransome My Heart.

  9. grace
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 16:23:56

    just like to say that this has been my all time favourite book
    i often wish my life is like a book and this is just the perfect blance of drama and romance
    love it

  10. Siti
    Jun 20, 2009 @ 05:27:52

    I’m doing this for my English book review.I luv this book.I think Mia was creating Finnula as a confident lead for the story.Mayb,a bit of Lily was part of Finnula or a more confident Mia.And,mayb,a bit of Tina in Mellana.I dont know.
    A romance novel by Tina would be a sensation.

  11. annie...
    Jul 12, 2009 @ 22:24:26

    omg…well in my country ransom my heart not published, i dont know when they will published n i really want to know are micheal n mia will be together…, i will sad n mad if they dont together…., please tell me

  12. lulu
    Jan 15, 2010 @ 15:56:26

    The last book of the Princess Diaries series I absolutely loved. I really loved all of the series (I have read the series twice! and the 10th book 5 times) so I am a major fan of Meg’s work. Even though I have not read the book yet I have a strong feeling it will be fabulous! The main character, Finnula seams to me loosely based off of Mia and Lilly. And the sister Melinda based off of Tina.

    I would love to see a book written by Tina and more by Mia!

    Meg keep them coming please!

  13. Abi
    Feb 06, 2010 @ 22:27:23

    I read all of the Princess Diaries and absolutely loved them all. The last book was AMAZING and I couldn’t wait to read Ransom My Heart. I am a HUGE fan of Meg Cabot. I wish she would right more books. Keep them coming! :]

  14. Anna
    Apr 04, 2010 @ 07:31:22

    Among all of Meg’s books I love Ransom My Heart and Victoria and The Rogue. Please continue to write more such books, I really love them.

  15. Miafan4ever
    Apr 18, 2010 @ 17:02:10

    I loved the Princess Diaries and especially loved Ransom my Heart!!! A romance novel by Tina would definitely be interesting. Meg should write another medieval one. A sequel to Ransom My Heart would be awesome, because the end of it sets it up for more. Please write more romance novels, Meg – we love them!

  16. POG
    Jul 20, 2010 @ 14:50:25

    Yeah- In Princess Forever micheal comes back in the picture- he’s now a gazillion air. Mia finds herself attracted to him but doesn’t want to break J.P’s heart. Soo she meets with micheal and finds herself attracted to him- Theres a scene where Micheal sends genovia one of his cardioarms and anoter where they make-out for a complete 20 blocks around central park but i’m not going into details- AT the prom Lily tells Mia that J.P was only ‘using her’ to get to Mia and than using Mia as a papmagnet- by tipping that paparazzi off on where they’d be and stuff.
    So Mia breaks up ith him and ta-da theres micheal waiting to carry her off to his loft. ( well it didn’t exactly happen like that- they talked and then she suggested they go to his loft.)

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