Prince Albert is the Wakefield’s dog, but Prince Arthur is their toyboy, or SVH #91 In Love With A Prince

25 Oct

I always liked Dana Larson. She was spunky, smart and her own person [not a pseudo-individual like Olivia Davidson or Dawn Schafer], and best of all, she didn’t fawn over those bloody Wakefields. But in this book, she morphed from Democrat to Monarchist, and totally lost her soul to Elizabeth’s penpal, Prince Arthur de Castillo of Santa Dora.

The TV version was even more awful – in the absence of Dana, Prince Arthur hooked up with Jessica, and the character who was called Lila but behaved like Caroline Pearce revealed his engagement to a Santa-Doran dutchess at a bash at Fowler Crest. Sheesh.

The outfits were definitely the high point of the book

Jessica paused to check her reflection in a plate glass window. She was wearing a crisp white linen minidress, a pink blazer, high heels and more gold necklaces and bracelets than Dana could count.

Dana had thrown on a baggy black cotton sweater and flowered leggings, a casual outfit that had earned her a disapproving look from Jessica when she’d squeezed into the twin’s jeep.

Lila stared down at her, her hands on the hips of her red-and-white polka dotted minidress.

“Besides,” Dana added with a smile, looking down at her bike shorts, hi-top sneakers and wacky t-shirt, “When all is said and done, I’m not really the princess type.”

The plot is definitely the low point:

Elizabeth’s penpal, Prince Arthur [you may remember him from Sweet Valley Twins, so 10 points for continuity], is coming to visit from Santa Dora, which is described as being “a tiny kingdom on the Mediterranean seacoast between Southern France and Northern Spain”. Now, I checked with google images and this is all I found for “Santa Dora, Mediterranean”

I recognise this from my 4-year-old niece's stocking last Xmas 

I checked google maps, too and nope, nothing. Must be incredibly tiny. Or a figment of Fran-Pasc’s imagination.

So Arthur’s coming to town and Jess and Lila have their claws out, despite the fact that Jess is dating Sam Woodruff, and Lila was molested by John Pfeifer in the last book. I always thought Lila’s response to her assault was quite realistic, but now I see it was delayed by a good four books in which she continued to chase boys.

Liz is, of course, Arthur’s first choice for an American hook-up, but she actually resists his charms and sticks with Todd for a change. I hate Arthur already. Also, I wish Margo had sped things up by five or so books so she could ruin him.

Anyway, we have an all-American welcome dinner at Casa de Wakefield, which is attended by the usual crew-  Ken, Terri, Enid and equally dull date, and Maria Santelli who cant stop fawning over Arthur. Personally, I would have gone for the bodyguards Arthur has in tow, Justino and Paulo. They sound kind of cute.

Dana Larson will have none of it, ‘cause she’s tough-ass Dana and immune to Arthur’s flirtatious charm. At SVH the next day, when she starts spouting her anti-royalist sentiments, Creepy Collins encourages her to aggravate their new guest and have a political debate. Idiot.

“A debate is the perfect solution,” Winston looked pointedly at Maria. “Maybe it will give people, especially of the female persuasion, a better perspective on this royalty thing.” Right on, Winnie!

At The Droid’s band practice that night in Max Dellons’ garage, Lynne Henry [the Linda Rondstandt lookalike who won over Guy Chesney] wants to rehearse a song for Prince Arthur called “Rule My Heart”. Yawn.

The next day, Dana puts together a well-constructed argument about how the De Castillos are corrupt and how Sweet Valley’s democratic society is like, way better than tyranny. She champions for the poor masses who fund Arthur’s glitzy lifestyle while he lounges around and doesn’t pay a cent. Uh, no offence Dana but I rarely see you turning down a bash at the Fowlers.

Arthur blabs on about his philanthropic causes and how he works, like, totally hard.

If you sensed sexual tension…you were correct! At another Wakefield party the next evening, where they are eating hot dogs and slutting around in stars-and-stripes bikinis, Dana and Arthur actually dance. We never find out what she wore, however. Boo.

She does let us in on something though: “I haven’t felt like this since…since the last time I fell in love!” Up here for thinking, Dana.

And so we have our whirlwind, fairytale romance, with electric shocks and various other clichés. Arthur even takes Dana to La Maison Blanche, which must have changed its name in four years because it was definitely La Maison Jaques in SVT. Either way, I’d pegged Dana as more of a Kelly’s Roadhouse kind of chick….

Oh yeah and she actually considers his marriage proposal. Dana has really lost it this time.

But all’s not well – the Sweet Valley News phones Dana, and it turns out that according to Santa Dora tradition, Arthur is only pursuing her because needs a wife by his 17th birthday. Yes, evil Lila did some research and leaked the story.  [GO LILA!] If it’s not Dana he marries, Arthur will get hitched to some mole called Tracey he’s betrothed to back home. So Dana feels used and abused, and tells Arthur and Liz where to go. [Go Dana!]

But then….Arthur grows a spine and calls home and tells Daddy to abandon the custom which has only been around for, you know, hundreds of centuries. He asks Dana to marry him, “not now but someday”, and she says….NO!!!!

Suck it, prince –

For once someone in Sweet Valley realizes that having a boyfriend isn’t the be all and end all, and that there might actually be some things she wants to do before she settles down. Dana is alright after all, I’ve decided. Back to her kick-ass feminist ways.

But it wouldn’t be Sweet Valley without a sappy ending, so I’ll leave you with this disgusting pash in the final scene, when Dana says goodbye to her royal fling:

She lifted her face to Arthur’s for one last kiss. It was warm and gentle and salty; they were both crying.


Last note: This was on the back cover, heralding the start of a new age of Sweet Valley: werewolves, vampires, magic jungle prom punch and of course, evil doppelgangers and their identical twins….

One Response to “Prince Albert is the Wakefield’s dog, but Prince Arthur is their toyboy, or SVH #91 In Love With A Prince”

  1. sophie October 25, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    Totally digging the Team Winston shirt on Dana Larson. Don’t you think it went unnoticed Winnie! I don’t know if its been said before but your clothes horse has a neat set of pins!
    I dig Dana. She wore some especially funky outfits toward the end of the series. Even if she went for Dora-the-Explorer de Castillo or whoever the fuck he was.

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