Princess Emmaline of Verdunia has everything a woman could want: money, fame, fortune, good looks, a decent family, and a crown. She does not, however, want to marry Remi, the Crown Prince of a neighboring Mediterranean country. It’s not that he’s not a nice guy, because he is. He just doesn’t make her heart go pitter-pat or her blood race. Emmaline doesn’t even realize that she feels this way until she meets a man who not only draws forth the aforementioned bodily reactions, but goes a whole lot further.
Granger Lockwood IV, an American businessman and world-famous playboy, meets Emmaline while he is in Verdunia on business. He sees a prim and proper princess and can’t seem to help wanting to mess up her hair and get her to do all sorts of un-princess-like things. Several weeks after their one night together, Granger receives an urgent telephone call from Emmaline begging him to rescue her from her arranged wedding. Being a stand-up guy, he rushes to aid the damsel in distress and whisks her back to New York. Unfortunately, his life is in complete disarray and he can barely take care of himself, let alone a princess who has never experienced anything apart from the royal treatment.
While there are two secondary plots that go on within A Thoroughly Modern Princess, the attention stays on Emmaline’s hilarious foray into the “real world” and Granger’s entertaining attempt to take care of himself for the first time in his life. Emmaline’s beautiful younger sister has made a career of jet-setting around the world and engaging in highly publicized entanglements with famous men, but for some reason she feels a sense of relief when Emmaline leaves Remi at the alter. Granger’s grandfather, a controlling, dictatorial old coot, kicks Granger right out of his Madison Avenue life when his wishes are thwarted, but Granger shocks him and himself by sticking to his principles. It’s a little hard for ordinary folk to feel sympathy for two people who were born with the proverbial silver spoon and wind up fending for themselves, but both Emmaline and Granger are so charming, I found myself rooting for them.
A Thoroughly Modern Princess is the first novel I've read by Wendy Corsi Staub, and I must say that I am impressed. A storyline that might sound trite and overdone is given a fresh and funny coat of paint, the characters are witty and utterly enjoyable, and the love story between Emmaline and Granger is interesting despite the lack of explicit sex scenes, which are growing more graphic every year in the romance novel industry. In fact, I appreciate the tactful and low-key sex scenes that peppered the book: it kept me focused on the witty dialogue between two first-rate characters.