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on February 10, 2014
Amy Wilde is a gardener in London who has a tough time meeting men despite her outgoing flat mate Jo's best intentions. Amy meets Leo at a party when his brother Rolf is out of control and breaks some of her potted plants. Amy goes on a date with Leo before she ever realizes that he is a Royal... aka exactly the kind of man Amy's dad warned her about. But Leo is different than most other Royals, in that he has a "regular" job, enjoys watching TV on his couch at night, and he is interested in Amy. I hope I'm not giving anything away when I say that Amy and Leo fall in love over the course of the book, though there are some bumps along the way that bring into question whether a regular girl can really ever fit into a Royal lifestyle.

I'm a pretty fast reader, but it took me nearly a week to finish this book, and not just because the book is 400+ pages. The Runaway Princess is chick lit, but at times it didn't feel like it. There was so much character development and description that I found myself taking my time and enjoying every single written word. I felt like all of the main characters were fleshed out extremely well and I was rooting for everyone by the end of the book.

My only request? The Runaway Princess NEEDS a sequel so we can find out what happens to Amy, Leo, Jo, and Rolf!
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on October 30, 2012
I've read every Hester Browne novel since reading The Little Lady Agency a few years back. She has a clear, funny writing style that I think many "chick lit" novels seriously lack. I enjoyed the aforementioned Little Lady Agency and Browne's last release, Swept Off Her Feet. I was less pleased with The Finishing Touches and the 2nd Little Lady book and, unfortunately, this one as well.

My main issue with The Runaway Princess is that it feels too recycled. Browne's heroines are all a bit too alike, something I'm at odds with because they make me feel like a good friend of Browne's. To have four main, first person characters who all share several identical traits is a bit much to believe it's not totally coincidentally fictional. But I'm never bored with these girls, so that's not the recycled bit that I'm talking about. What I'm talking about is other things: the BFFs of these women are identical, there are unbelievable yet comedic families (particularly heavy on the sister front), the love interests are dreamy, typical guys (the exception being Nelson). The only thing that changes is the details of the plot, and even that is only slight at best.

This plot didn't appeal to me much, so in that sense I knew what I was getting into. I don't find it attractive to be a royal or someone famous and I was really hoping Amy would choose someone different, particularly (and this brings me back to the recycled bit) because Leo is much, much too familiar, being a clear composite of mostly Jonathon and Nelson from Little Lady Agency. I also didn't like all the royal name dropping; it was to be expected but it was way overkill by the end of the book, which was way too slow in coming. Add to that the family "mystery/secret" that Amy withheld until almost the very end (making it more predictable and, therefore, less terrible than it was built up to be). But this book had several funny moments. In fact, I would say this was Browne's funniest of the bunch.
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on October 16, 2012
The Good: I loved Hester Browne's writing style. She was funny, quirky and passionate. Amy, the mc, was just a normal girl who enjoyed being invisible and working hard. She was successfully growing her own business with her partner Ted and all was right with the world. Then Leo and Rolf crash her party. Nothing was ever the same again once she connected with Leo. Suddenly she is whisked into a fairytale romance that all girls dream of. Who wouldn't want a sexy prince that is down to earth?

The bad: The story lagged in a few spots, but not enough to keep me from reading it without abandon. I wasn't really that fond of Ted's character, he seemed more of a static character than anything else.

The Sexy: This book was cute and romantic. There really wasn't much sexy in it. It was a pretty clean read that anyone could enjoy.

Overall: Fans of Sophie Kinsella and aka Madeline Wickham will love this romantic English read. It was humorous at times and devious at other times. I loved this book and highly recommend it to wanna be princesses of all ages. It deserves four glittery stars for its awesomeness!
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on February 17, 2015
I love Hester's writing..but this story was a little too much to believe. It was a spin on Cinderella..wicked mother-in-law and sister-in-law and all. I'm sure it meets many womens requirements for a Prince..but it was so sappy and predictable..I found myself rolling my eyes and saying "really?". Good for transporting the reader into a different world..but it was a little too sappy and predictable for my taste.. Still like Hester Brown's writing though..
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on June 14, 2016
Fun book. Light and sweet. Relatively clean. Characters have sex but it's not discussed except in passing and not graphic. Cute. I like all of Hester Browne's novels. I love the heroine's physical description - not the most typical body type.
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on July 1, 2015
I really enjoy Browne's well written adventures. This was another story to laugh, cry and celebrate with characters who seem like your best mates, if you happen to live in a marvelous flat in London. Cheers! And I'm off to read another.
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on September 12, 2016
Great book, light, airy and fun to read.
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on January 17, 2013
Amy Wilde may have a green thumb when it comes to plants, but when it comes to men she's all thumbs -- hopelessly frozen, bereft of a single intelligent thought or witticism. Her vivacious roommate Jo is determined to see Amy's perpetually single status changed for good at their next party -- a party that's gate-crashed by Rolf, a playboy with the godlike looks of an Adonis. But it isn't Rolf that captures Amy's eye -- it's his suspiciously normal (but equally handsome) friend Leo, with whom conversation -- wonder of wonders! -- comes as naturally as breathing. She may at long last have finally met her perfect match, the man with whom she can finally be herself, unencumbered by her family's past scandal. But when she learns that Leo the investment banker turns out to be Prince Leopold of Nirona, one of the ten most eligible bachelors in the world, the very private Amy suddenly finds herself thrust into the glare of a very public, and often cruel, spotlight. When tragedy strikes and Amy's closely-guarded past threatens to resurface, can her relationship with Leo survive the pressures of fame and duty?

While The Runaway Princess is my first Hester Browne novel, it most assuredly will not be my last. People, this book is ADORABLE. This is the perfect read for anyone who ever found their heart skip a beat as the real life fairy tale unfolded between William and Kate, proving once again the public's enduring fascination with a royal romance. I loved Amy's idiosyncrasies and unabashed determination to remain normal, pre- and post-spotlight. She's quirky, funny, and best of all, real. Leo is a swoon-worthy hero, the perfect modern day knight in shining armor -- an apt description since after all Browne has penned the modern-day equivalent of a fairy tale. Amy and Leo are surrounded by a colorful cast of supporting players, best of all Amy's best friend Jo, larger-than-life, generous and loyal to a fault -- so well-drawn she deserves her own book. Her friendship with Amy, the give-and-take between them, is perhaps one of the strongest female friendships I've read in fiction of this ilk.

If Amy's story is a grown-up version of The Princess Diaries, it isn't all frothy fun and laugh-out-loud humor (although the novel possesses those qualities in abundance). Amy's unfolding relationship with Leo, while on balance are the stuff dreams are made of, are occasionally shadowed by the real-life, and all too relatable, intrusion of self-esteem issues and family tragedy. While I did feel that the "secret" shame in Amy's past was concealed far too long and resolved too neatly, I appreciated that Browne was willing to add some depth and emotional pathos to her otherwise fluffy, charming romance. Amy and Leo's romance is a charming, thought-provoking entrée into the glamorous and pressure-filled world of royal romance and its attendant public notoriety. The challenges and sacrifices Amy must face in her quest to make her relationship with Leo work are powerful reminders of the humanity behind the public persona, hidden behind the gloss of celebrity status and 24-hour news cycles. And while it could be argued that, in the end, Amy doesn't give much -- or enough -- ground, what I loved her passionate commitment to remain true to herself when her very private affaire de coeur becomes very public fodder for the gossip columns.

The Runaway Princess is a charming modern-day fairy tale, packed with warmth, heart, and unexpected moments of poignancy. Amy is a fantastic "everywoman" heroine, and coupled with Browne's razor-sharp wit and gloriously realized cast of supporting characters, her resulting romance is one of the best, most charming chick lits I've read in an age. Well done, Ms. Browne -- I can't wait to explore your backlist titles!
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on May 19, 2016
It was fun. I enjoyed it but not the best literature ever
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on January 7, 2013
This is only the third Hester Browne book that I've read, the first two being The Finishing Touches and Swept Off Her Feet. However, I can already see that Ms. Browne is one of those authors who has one set of cookie cutters for her character and hasn't yet invested in a new set of cutters. That being said, I didn't mind too much since this was only my third Hester Browne book.

Amy was a likeable character, even with her tendency to over-apologize. And I even found Rolf to be somewhat entertaining. Some of the other side characters I found to be completely superfluous--Dikon or whatever his name is, and Mrs. Mainwright. I also agree with some of the other reviewers that some of the characters were not necessary and felt unfinished.

But here's what I really didn't like about the book--the ending. Here's why:

The story starts off with Amy meeting Prince Leo, who is fifth in line for the throne of an imaginary country. It's fine that he's royalty and a prince because he's only fifth in line, after his uncle (the crown prince), his uncle's two sons, then his father, Prince Boris. And although he's a prince, Leo tries to be "normal" by having a regular day job as an investment banker. And he seems to really be attracted to Amy's "normalness." However, just after Leo and Amy get engaged, Leo's grandfather pulls a switch-and-bait and changes the inheritance order. Basically, Leo's father and uncle are twins. Leo's father was supposedly the younger twin, but on his deathbed, Leo's grandfather "confesses" that Leo's father is actually the older twin. Now, Leo's father is the King or whatever and Leo is the crown prince, next in line. Which changes everything.

Amy, naturally, cannot cope. For one thing, she hates crowds and attention. On top of that, there was some scandal with her older sister many years ago that turned her mom into someone who hates crowds even more (to the point where she almost never leaves the house) and has also turned her mom into a member of the obese community. So now life changes for Amy, who is still stubbornly trying to cling onto her old life and doesn't really know how to use her words to discuss these changes with Leo. Add in the psycho princess Sister (who's supposedly a genius but has a huge stick up her butt) and you've got the start of the train wreck.

So how do Leo and Amy resolve all this? Not by meeting halfway. Rather, the way I saw it, it was about Leo moving to meet Amy and the psycho sister being rewarded for her poor behavior. What's wrong with psycho sister? She's pissed that women can't inherit the crown. And she sabotages Amy by giving her a speech in the wrong language, making sure that Amy's clothes don't fit, threatening her with past family scandals, and making sure that Amy doesn't know the current schedule. And what does Leo do in the end? He gives up being the crown prince so that psycho sister can become the next in line to inherit.

Why I hated the ending (aside from the obvious).
It didn't fit with the rest of the story. We meet Leo's grandfather for only a few pages, but he's described as a very distinguished and charming man who knows what's best for the monarchy. And the entire family has always been taught that the country comes first. So is Leo giving up the crown to his reward his sister's selfish ambitions the best for the country? I don't see how. We know that Boris and Liza (Leo's parents) are loved by the public. We know that Rolf is a favorite because of his wild-partying ways that always feeds the tabloids (not that anyone wants him to inherit). But Sophia? Nothing. And from the description the author gave, I don't think she's very well-loved by the public. If I were Amy, I would have just done by all-exclusive and blabbed about what a b**** Sophia is and how she's the reason that Leo and Amy broke up. After all, Liza and Sophia were always making comments about the publicity nightmares that Amy was causing. I'd just really give them a real nightmare to deal with.
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