The Runaway Princess
by Hester Browne
Release Date: October 2, 2012
2012 Gallery Books
Softcover Edition; 431 Pages
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
If Amy Wilde’s new
boyfriend, Leo, treats her like a queen, that’s because he’s secretly a
prince himself: Leopold William Victor Wolfsburg of Nirona, the ninth
most eligible royal bachelor in the world. Amy soon discovers that
dating an heir to a throne has many charms—intimate alfresco dinners,
glittering galas, and, for a girl who lives in jeans and wellies, a
dazzling new wardrobe with tiaras to match. But there are also
drawbacks: imagine the anxiety of meeting your boyfriend’s parents
multiplied by a factor of “riding in a private jet,” “staying in a
castle,” and “discussing the line of succession over lunch.” Not to
mention the sudden press interest in your very un-royal family. When an
unexpected turn of events pushes Leo closer to the throne, the
Wolfsburgs decide to step up Amy’s transformation from down-to-earth
gardener to perfectly polished princess-in-waiting. Amy would do
anything for Leo, but is finding her Prince Charming worth the price of
The Runaway Princess was one of those books that I really needed to read at the moment: it was light, fluffy fun, with some serious undertones, that kept me captivated, but didn't require me to really think too hard about what was going on. I was already familiar with Hester Browne's writing through her Little Agency Series, and I was curious as to what her other writing would be like. I was not disappointed.
Amy Wilde is one of those characters I had no trouble identifying with and empathizing with almost immediately. Down-to-earth, she considers herself a normal Yorkshire girl with aspirations of becoming a well-known garden designer. With little knowledge of the elite, even though her roommate was quite into the personalities and famous people of London, when she finally meets that "special someone" she has no idea that he is actually a prince and is completely embarrassed by some of the things she said to him on their first date. Thrust into the limelight, she handles it to the best of her ability and is shocked at quite easily Leo and her family can manipulate others and use money to try to solve all problems. This is one of the areas that causes stress between them as Leo is constantly trying to solve all of their problems through money, and personally, I don't really feel like the issue was resolved at the end of the novel, as even the ending was kind of resolved using money. He wold often make decisions without consulting Amy, another area that was causing stress in their relationship, and again, I don't really feel like this situation was resolved in the end. And these are big issues in a relationship. When issues are just swept under the rug and not fully discussed, that's when the problems really start to come out.
Their relationship moved fairly quickly, but it didn't bother me that much as it wasn't really insta-love, as it did develop along fairly regular patterns. I did feel that their initial love was mostly physical and that their communication was somewhat lacking however, as both of them seemed to be really reluctant to really discuss the important issues. I thought Leo was fairly understanding of Amy's shyness and inability to cope with the public as he grew up with the press, and I liked how he was patient with her and tried to show her the ropes, so to speak. I can't imagine that suddenly being thrust in the public eye would be that great and the author did try to convey that in this novel through humour which I thought worked rather well. Most girls grow up wanting to meet and marry a prince, but the reality is that most of us wouldn't want that kind of lifestyle as it exhausting to always be in the public eye. I know I would love to dress up in one of those dresses that were mentioned and attend a ball, but would I want to do it all of the time? Probably not. And have all of the papers digest everything about me? Probably not. And then have the press dig up all the dirt they can find on me? And as Amy was hiding big secrets from Leo about her family, it was bound to end up in the press and create enormous problems for everyone. Sometimes it bothers me when an author hints and hints at a "big" secret and when it is revealed, the "big" secret is not that big of a deal. I sort of felt that way about this secret in this novel, although I was certainly intrigued and I was caught off guard by one event that I never even suspected, although I really should have if I'd been paying attention.
The Runaway Princess was an enjoyable and light read that was entertaining and downright fun. I did feel like a lot of issues were not resolved between Leo and Amy which kind of makes me wonder if a sequel is in the works. Otherwise, it's good clean fun, and lovers of chick-lit will probably really enjoy this one.