The Runaway Princess
by Christina Dodd
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (February 9, 1999)
By Jessica Stewart, Courier Editor-in-Chief
“She’d seen pictures of princes in her books. Lots of them. Princes wore capes lined with robin’s egg blue silk that they threw carelessly over one shoulder. They wore velvet capes trimmed with soft feathers. They trod so lightly that the ground was grateful to hold their weight. They were slender, graceful—and charming.”
Unfortunately for Evangeline Scoffield, Prince Danior is none of these things, but that is not the worst part. He also rudely calls her a liar merely because he refuses to believe that she is not his long-lost princess. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel—especially since Danior is my kind of “prince charming”—and keep going back to it. The characters are enjoyable, the plot is exciting and the chemistry is real. Add in a bit of interesting history since this book is set in 1816 and you get a great romance. It beats one of those unoriginal fairy tales any day.
Prince Danior of Baminia believes he has finally found his little princess, Ethelinda, despite her nasty habit of denying her royal heritage and her desire to be called by a different name, even though she no longer needs to hide. Now, he just needs to get her back to Baminia in time for the Revealing, where he will marry her and unite their two kingdoms of Baminia and Serephina. Oh yeah, and they have to avoid the revolutionaries bent on killing them. Easy enough, if only Evangeline wasn’t so determined to escape.
Evangeline Scoffield of East Little Teignmouth is an orphan, not a princess, although she sure wouldn’t mind being Danior’s princess. She knows that she isn’t, thought, and she refuses to pretend because the real princess might be in danger, and Danior needs to go find her. Unfortunately, Danior has different ideas. She finds herself falling for him, and the decision to continue denying her royal heritage becomes harder and harder to do..
As the two race to Baminia for the Revealing, both intent upon changing the other's mind, they face many obstacles, from murderous revolutionaries to their own clashing personalities. They quickly fall in lust, and slowly fall in love. The only problem is that Evangeline truly is not the princess. Where is the real one? Is she in danger? And what will Danior do when he finds out the love of his life truly is an orphan?
This novel kept me on my toes and the twist at the end was a pleasant surprise. I loved the characters, especially since they are so unconventional. Evangeline isn’t a grasping, greedy orphan, Danior is in no way charming, and is in fact a hulking brute. The revolutionaries are portrayed as real people with real feelings, and the real princess isn’t really a very good princess.
I definitely recommend this novel to anybody looking for a different kind of fairytale.