The Prince

The Prince

From their grand mansion on the Upper East Side to their magical private island in Long Island sound, everything points to the Woodford family as perfect, idyllic. And then it all falls apart.

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Enter Federico, a penniless Italian prince who is about to marry Emily Woodford, the only child of the family’s widowed patriarch, Henry. When Emily's beautiful, enigmatic childhood friend, Christina, appears on the scene as a guest at their wedding, trouble begins. She and the Prince had once had a passionate affair. Emily’s father, Henry, however, is also enchanted by Christina. Now both Emily and her father must face a new reality, and learn whom they can, or cannot, trust.

  1. Booklist

    “[An] exploration of passion, intimacy, and deeply entwined relationships. Written partly as an homage to Henry James’ The Golden Bowl, it will appeal to readers of modern literary domestic fiction.”

  2. NPR

    Smith “has a winner with her new novel, The Prince… a compelling story of sexual obsession and the expectations and tolerances of society.”

  3. Lee Child, bestselling author and 2020 Booker Prize judge

    “Beautiful, elegant and delicate at the sentence level, and wholly satisfying as a present-day story, this book's true delight is how, in both a literary and an emotional sense, the past informs the present, and the present informs the past – like a Mobius strip lovingly crafted by a Swiss watchmaker.”

  4. Michael Gorra, author of Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece

    “Anyone who has read The Golden Bowl will realize immediately that The Prince is much more than a clever updating of Henry James’ last masterpiece. It is that – and yet Dinitia Smith has also found possibilities in the old story that James didn’t or couldn’t explore. She’s better on the money, for one thing, the money that in the century since James wrote has had time to grow old. And also on the sex. That’s the form hunger takes in the lives of these characters, so cushioned from all material needs, and in showing them to us Smith reminds us, as James did, that the human heart is above all a place of terror, and pity, and dread.”

  5. Hilma Wolitzer, author of Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket: Stories

    “This elegant and compelling novel vividly brings the world of Henry James into the present day. Dinitia Smith is a master storyteller and she has a wonderful story to tell.”

  6. Jay Parini, author of The Last Station and Borges and Me

    “I loved this novel. The Prince gently but relentlessly furls us in the shimmering world of New York high society, conjuring Henry James in a brilliant way, introducing two friends of remarkable poise – Emily and Christina. Federico, the handsome and eponymous prince of the story, is poor, at least in cash. But he’s rich in every other way, and Dinitia Smith draws these astonishing figures in the carpet of her imagination together in a tangle of yearning, whimsy, and emotional betrayal. The narrative moves with an enviable swiftness, and one is left wishing for more and more.”

  7. André Aciman, author of Call Me By Your Name

    “What a wonderful gift of a book, and what a treat to return to Henry James’ radiant plot a century later to recover the magic, the genius, and beauty of those shadows that always hover between one person and another. Money could be the reason, deceit the villain, love the remedy, but it is always trust that pays the price in the end. A stunning and audacious retelling of The Golden Bowl.

  8. Brooke Allen, author and critic

    “With delicacy and flair, Dinitia Smith has succeeded in bringing the themes of Henry James’ great novel to bear on twenty-first-century lives and circumstances. The Prince is a sympathetic homage to James as well as being a gripping contemporary novel in its own right.”

  9. The East Hampton Star

    “Ms. Smith's approach retains the moral quandaries, the manner in which James had characters withhold information for complicated reasons — in some ways out of kindness, in some ways out of fear. For some out of self-preservation. Truths are so hard to come by in these worlds. But these ethical dilemmas of James's work are so worthy of exploration today.”

  10. The National Book Review

    ““Deliciously satisfying… Smith finely draws each character in this fraught quartet enmeshed in furtive relationships and secrets kept from one another, and themselves.”

  11. Palm Beach Arts Paper

    “Smith deftly explores James’ great themes: deceit, misplaced trust and new American money clashing with traditional European culture, with delicious and treacherous undercurrents of conflicts over class and privilege.”