When a good-hearted gardener finds love with a royal, romance may sprout thorns.
Amy Wilde is more comfortable with a spade in her hand than a tiara on her head. When she meets the dashing Leo Wolfsburg, who fancies more than her roses, that's a plus. And when the charming banker is revealed to be the millionaire Prince Leopold, the world's ninth most eligible royal, Amy finds she can deal with the supermodel mom and the sprawling familial castle. Amy, better known for her prize marrow than her beauty or poise, can even manage the idea of Leo landing his helicopter on the local cricket pitch, a plus when he not only wins over her hard-luck parents, but also gets their permission to propose. In fact, all seems, well, rosy, until a family scandal catapults Leo into the position of heir to the throne of Nirona—and Amy's family troubles and her own unthinking missteps threaten to derail not only his father's coronation, but their wedding. Amy, a "stroppy Yorkshire" girl, finds herself wondering, "I loved Leo, but was I really going to be able to do this?" Not to worry. Of course she is, although Browne (Swept Off Her Feet, 2011, etc.) throws in more than the usual obstacles along the way. She also plumps out this straightforward girl-meets-boy, girl-loses-boy, girl-gets-boy romance with enough detail—about London, European society, even gardening—to dissuade some looking for a quicker read. But her breezy writing and likable characters—even Leo's ne'er-do-well brother Rolf is sympathetic—will keep the right kind of reader engaged. Traditional in outlook, despite the very contemporary fashion references, this thick novel delivers a solid, almost believable fantasy with just enough glitz and glamour to catch the eye of chick-lit fans.
An in-depth fairy tale by a master of the genre, delivering old-fashioned satisfaction with some up-to-date sparkle.