Princess in Denim by Jenna McKnight
(Harlequin American # 719, $3.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-16719-9
****
Have you ever seen someone who looked exactly like your best friend? Did you realize it wasn't them before you rushed up and hugged a complete stranger? It is said that we all have a twin, somewhere on the planet, maybe even in a different time. When I was a little girl, I wanted to have a twin – a mysterious princess – that I could exchange places with and get away from my little sisters. I was convinced it was possible after reading Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper.

Princess in Denim is a modern romantic version of The Prince and the Pauper. Chloe Marshall met Her Royal Highness, The Princess Moira of Ennsway, in college. Their remarkable resemblance to each other often allowed them to trade places, whenever Moira felt like "slumming." Chloe enjoyed living the temporary high life, but her real life is full of everyday problems. So she's not reluctant to switch again with Princess Moira, who asks her to return to Ennsway as the princess. Moira has been absent from Ennsway for sixteen years, since the death of her mother, and it's time to go home.

After just a week of preparation, and under the supervisory wing of Moira's personal secretary, Emma, Chloe (now Moira) finds herself on a private jet enroute to Ennsway. She's having a hard time remembering all the little nuances of being a princess, and then the owner of the private jet, His Royal Highness, King of Baesland, boards. William is definitely the Hollywood version of a King – tall, dark, and handsome – with lapis colored eyes. He finds Princess Moira all grown up from the 12-year-old he remembers – to a very unroyal and very charmingly American princess.

Moira finds him in nothing but a towel as the jet is about to land in Ennsway. The towel can't even begin to disguise all the secrets he's keeping from her. William hopes he'll have the chance to become her friend, before her father tells her the news of her engagement. Moira is in a constant of panic, what will everyone do when she slips up and reveals herself? After all, the castle in Ennsway does have a dungeon.

Princess in Denim is a light-hearted romp and a very fast read. Moira's royal faux pas are often hysterical and she endears herself even more to William, and their subjects in Baesland and Ennsway. She dispenses with a lot of the "royal brouhaha" and makes up for it with good old fashioned American know how. William finds himself courting his own fiancée, who calmly does unroyal things. Though lacking in sensuality, the courtship is full of love rather than duty to country.

Moira and William's love story is complicated by assassination attempts, a plotting brother, a moldy dungeon, political intrigue, a dying king, and Moira's inability to remember how to find her way through the 100+ room castle. She can't find a decent strawberry popup in the whole kingdom, but she manages to find her way to William's heart, and he must convince her to stay there.

And, of course, they live happily ever after! Now I wonder what's happening back in the United States... to the new Chloe Marshall... we'll find out in McKnight's next book, Cowgirl in Pearls.

--Julia S. Sandlin


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