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In Dreams

The Princess of Thornwood Drive

By Khalia Moreau 

3 May, 2024

Doing the WFC's Homework

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Khalia Moreau’s 2023 The Princess of Thornwood Drive is a stand-alone modern fairy tale… of sorts.

A year ago, Laine’s life was catastrophically upended. A car crash for which Laine feels responsible killed her parents and left Laine’s sister Alyssa paralyzed and silent. In the aftermath of the crash, Laine discovered that her father had left large debts1. Laine does have an uncle to whom she could turn… but uncle Freidmore appears to be only interested in exploiting his mixed-race nieces’ situation to purchase his brother’s home at a bargain price. Thus, no more dream of becoming a vet for Laine2, only a desperate struggle to support herself, pay for Alyssa’s on-going medical care, and avoid losing custody of Alyssa to the state.

From Alyssa’s perspective, the situation is quite different.

Alyssa is a princess in the fairy tale kingdom Mirendal. Her grasping uncle plots to steal the throne. Her parents are missing, kidnapped. Alyssa is the target of malevolent magic designed to prevent her from communicating. Everything Alyssa experiences corresponds to events in the waking world, seen through a fantasy lens.

Fate throws Laine a lifeline in the form of Lake Forest Adult Day Center. Lake Forest is far more affordable than comparable care facilities. Although as the name suggests, Lake Forest does not offer around the clock care, daytime care allows Laine to do paid work. For the moment, at least, Laine can keep her head above water.

Lake Forest offers an unexpected perk in the form of Dr. Robert Remson. Robert is handsome and charming, the sort of selfless person who would step away from Remson Industries to care for the needy. Robert’s attention to Laine is welcome… and would be even more welcome, if only Robert didn’t come with a clingy ex living in the same apartment complex.

Alyssa’s perspective is, of course, very different. She knows the greatest threat facing the kingdom isn’t her uncle, but Robert Remson. If only there were some way for Ayssa to warn Laine… but Robert’s magic makes that impossible.


This book is not exactly a fantasy novel. Even though Alyssa interprets everything that goes on around her as if it were a fairy tale, it’s clear that this is all Alyssa’s internal fantasy life. What’s going on in her head is a metaphor for what’s going outside her head, and very little information (and no magic at all) jumps from Alyssa’s world to the real one.

I should also admit that I went into this with inappropriate expectations, which undermined my enjoyment of the book. Specifically, the plot is more realistic than I expected. Clearly the issue is at the reader end.

This novel is short on miracle cures, even if one of the characters believes she lives in a world where magic exists. Also, while Laine works out for herself that there is something very wrong with Robert Remson, bringing a respected doctor whose family essentially owns the town to justice is not at all straightforward.

The author is a doctor, which may be why certain aspects of the plot could be described as and then reality ensues.” For example, readers might expect Alyssa to suddenly wake from her coma at just the right moment or for Laine to come up with a particularly cunning gambit to use on Remson… but that’s not a reasonable expectation and it’s not how things are resolved.

This isn’t a complete downer of a book — some problems can solved and there are surprising allies– but neither is it one in which every problem has a happy resolution. This fictional world is more ambiguous than that.

The Princess of Thornwood Drive is available here (Amazon US), here (Amazon Canada), here (Amazon UK), here (Apple Books), here (Barnes & Noble), here (Chapters-Indigo), and here (Words Worth Books).

1: Yes, I did expect the sisters’ financial situation to be purely because of medical bills.

2: At the risk of annoying equestrians, I must admit that I couldn’t fully appreciate the aspects of the plot that involved horses. Horses aren’t my thing. I don’t dislike horses; I’ve ridden horses; my family owned a horse — but I’m happy to leave them in their paddock eating grass.