I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory
Published by Gallery Books on October 9, 2018
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Royalty
Pages: 290 •Format: E-ARC •Source: NetGalley
Princess Theodora Isabella Victoria of Drieden of the Royal House Laurent is so over this princess thing.
After her fiancé jilted her on their wedding day, she’s finally back home after spending four months in exile—aka it’s back to press conferences, public appearances, and putting on a show for the Driedish nation as the perfect princess they expect her to be. But Thea’s sick of duty. After all, that’s what got her into this mess in the first place.
So when she sneaks out of the palace and meets a sexy Scot named Nick in a local bar, she relishes the chance to be a normal woman for a change. But just as she thinks she’s found her Prince Charming for the night, he reveals his intentions are less than honorable: he’s the brother of her former fiancé, a British spy, and he’s not above blackmail. As Thea reluctantly joins forces with Nick to find out what happened the day her fiancé disappeared, together they discover a secret that could destroy a centuries-old monarchy and change life as they know it.
Funny, fast-paced, and full of more twists and turns than the castle Thea lives in, The Royal Runaway is a fresh romantic comedy that will leave you cheering for the modern-day royal who chucks the rulebook aside to create her own happily-ever-after.
*Huge thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an review copy free of charge!*
If you know my reading tastes at all, you know that word “royals” in a contemporary novel hooks me every.single.time. That’s why I’ve had my eye on The Royal Runaway for a while now, and it’s comp titles are The Princess Diaries and The Royal We (two of my favorite contemporary reads EVER) so I screamed when I was approved for it on NetGalley and immediately dove in once I knew I had some good, solid uninterrupted reading time.
The Royal Runaway features a small, imaginary European country (Genovia, anyone?) called Drieden and centers on Princess Thea, second in line to the throne after her reluctant crown prince father. Knowing that her father would NOT make a good king (nor does he want to be one), Thea’s been brought up with much of the pressure of being a crown princess and the knowledge that she will probably see herself on the throne sooner than most would anticipate.
The story begins in the aftermath of her royal wedding disaster, where she is left at the altar by her fiancé, who didn’t even bother to show up at the wedding. After spending a few months in isolation while the scandal died down, Thea returns to her home country only to be swept up in a conspiracy situation that involves spies, murders, political corruption and, interestingly enough, a psychic.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that The Royal Runaway was not a romance novel, but much more of a spy story. When Thea finds out her ex-fiancé may be in danger and perhaps skipped the wedding by force, she teams up with Nick (a Scot, presumed dead, who’s now a spy) to find out what really happened and face some of the corruption in her country head on. I was not a fan of Nick and Thea’s relationship personally (I didn’t feel like they’d actually end up liking each other and there wasn’t enough time for a true hate-to-love romance to develop, and I also just think Nick was kind of a jerk), there weren’t too many romance scenes. I was 100% there for the scheming, betrayals and political intrigue and think that this book honestly could have stood on its own without the romance. Things did take a weird turn when a psychic/astrologer got involved (still not REALLY sure what her role was in everything?) but I also don’t think realistically a member of a royal European family could jaunt around Europe solving mysteries unnoticed so I’m acknowledging a certain suspension of disbelief was needed to enjoy this story.
What I really enjoyed about this story was that Thea was a truly intelligent protagonist, and unapologetic about it. She has a true passion and love for her country’s history and politics and is always spouting off anecdotes and mini history lessons about her royal ancestors (I loved all the alternative history in relation to the other European nations) and though pretty much every characters gives her crap for being a history nerd she never cares. She’s also not a ~special snowflake~ character who miraculously has everything come easily to her and becomes a kick-butt heroine- she really has no idea what to do with a gun or how to defend herself but manages to get herself out of some tough situations with her quick thinking and princess training.
Overall: The Royal Runaway was an extremely fun and quick read that covers some of my favorite topics in fiction. While it’s not an all time favorite for me, I really looked forward to sitting down and reading it and definitely see the potential for a sequel based on some loose ends at the end of the story, which I would definitely read!