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The Honeymoon Hotel (2014)

The Bonneville Hotel is all Rosie McDonald has ever known. She's worked there since she was sixteen and thrives on her role as events manager, arranging the perfect wedding for her clients down to the tiniest detail. And after all the work she's put in, Rosie finally hopes to land the coveted general manager job, she just needs a few more weddings to reach her target. Unfortunately, when Joe, the free-thinking son of the Bonneville's owners, turns up unexpectedly, he's forced upon Rosie to shadow her, to learn the ins and outs of the hotel. Joe, however, can't help but put his twopennies worth in and suddenly Rosie's meticulous, ordered system is coming under attack. In the Bonneville hotel, Hester Browne has created a great setting, a central focus for the novel and a place you can really imagine. The writing is assured, with plenty of great one-liners and one of my favourite lines ever in: 'I never realized how like The Hunger Games weddings are.' At times the narrative jumps quite quickly and some of the climaxes are a bit underwhelming, so too to some extent is the central romance. But it's a solid chick lit read that you can relax with. (JC)

The Runaway Princess (2012)

Amy Wilde fits in best with the flowers and plants that she works so hard to grow and nurture. She loves her job as a gardener and sharing a flat with her friend, Jo, even though Jo is always pestering her to find a boyfriend. So when Amy unexpectedly meets Leo at a party, she realises that she properly likes him and wants to see more of him. Unfortunately, before she can ask for his number he's gone. Plus, he's so drop dead gorgeous that she figures she'll never see him again. However, to her surprise, he shows up on her doorstep one day asking her to help him with his garden. Amy's not sure if it's a date or just a business proposal, but either way she can't believe her luck. From then on, she and Leo begin a courtship full of tender romance that blossoms with each meeting. Yet, the fact that Leo is always taking her to posh members-only clubs and hanging around with the horrendous (and very rich) Rolf, make Amy wonder if their relationship can work. After all, she's just a gardener and Leo is a high-powered banker with ultra-rich friends. Or is he? As Amy soon finds out, Leo is more than what he seems. He's not just a banker, he's also the Prince of Nirona and one of the world's most eligible bachelors. He dates models and socialites, takes luxe vacations and parties with the elite. All things Amy's never been privy to. Now that she knows Leo's real background, can she make their relationship work or will the pressure of possibly becoming a princess and being thrust into the spotlight be too much for this simple gardener? With a cast of extremely appealing characters - one being the delicious Leo - this is a novel you won't want to put down. With all the interest in Will and Kate's life, it's fun to read about Amy and Leo, who in some ways emulate what people think Will and Kate are like. Leo is relentlessly charming and will make you want to figure out where you can find this lovely place called Nirona and move there just to be closer to him. A definite must-read. (AS)

Swept Off Her Feet (2011)

aka The Vintage Girl

Evie loves everything about the past. She works as an antiques dealer which allows her to imagine a story behind each piece she comes across. When the opportunity comes along to go to a Scottish castle for a week and appraise the contents of the house, she cannot wait to get there and immerse herself in its history. The castle's owners are preparing for the annual Scottish reeling ball when she arrives. Evie is immediately caught up in the stories about the owners' ancestors and the history of the house. While Evie cannot get enough of the house, the heir, Robert, has heard more than enough about it. Robert sees the house as a money pit that may bankrupt his family. Evie may find his attitude disheartening but can't keep herself away from him. Robert finds Evie's exuberance for the castle exasperating. He's under enough pressure to propose to his girlfriend without Evie trying to convince him how lucky he is to have the castle. Her sister is supposed to attend the ball with her boyfriend but when she cancels at the last minute, Evie has to take her place. Evie will get to live out her life-long dream of attending a ball in a real castle if she can learn to reel which is proving very difficult. All she needs to do now is find someone to fill her dance card. Evie is a very likeable main character who you find yourself rooting for. The reeling lessons are very funny and add to the old-time feel of the book. The chemistry between Evie and Robert is fantastic and makes this a wonderfully romantic story that combines the past with the very real problems of today. (AR)

The Finishing Touches (2009)

Elizabeth (Betsy) is the little orphan Annie grown up, left in a marmalade carton on the steps of Lady Frances and Lord Pelham Phillimore's finishing school for girls in London. Fast forward 27 years, Betsy is working at a shoe shop when Frances passes away. Lord Phillimore invites her to come to the school and see if she can do something to save its fading fortunes. Horrified at the state of the school which is on the brink of bankruptcy, Betsy takes it upon herself to teach the remaining students the skills that may actually be helpful in life - from the essentials one must have in their handbag to how to look ab-fab for minimal costs. A perfect read for those wanting to see an old English finishing school being given a 21st century makeover. It's out with the table setting, white gloves and flower arrangements and in with eating sushi, managing budgets and mortgages and DIY manicures. (PP)

The Little Lady Agency and the Prince (2008)

aka What the Lady Wants

Prince Nicky is the ultimate playboy, troubling to his family and irresistible to the ladies. Which is why his grandfather is desperate for him to be reformed. Soon Melissa aka Honey, London's premier freelance girlfriend, is on the scene attempting to change the ways of the Prince for the sake of his grandfather and his family inheritance. However, she finds herself having to rectify more situations than should be necessary and losing touch with her own fiance, American Jonathan Riley. The real question isn't can she tame the Prince and turn him into the perfect gentleman but can she tame the Prince in time for her own fairytale wedding? This is the third instalment of the Little Lady Agency series. (SN)

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The Little Lady Agency

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