Hester Browne created a unique heroine in Melissa Romney-Jones a.k.a. Honey, London's ultimate freelance girlfriend, who won the hearts of readers on both sides of the Atlantic in her "charming and feel-good"(Cosmopolitan) and "funny and original" (People) earlier adventures. Now her New York Times bestselling series sparkles brighter than ever as irrepressible Melissa is hired to reform a playboy prince -- and finds she could get used to the royal treatment.
Making plans for her wedding to American fiancé Jonathan Riley, who now runs a prestigious Parisian real estate company, Melissa agrees to do a favor for her beloved grandmother: transform the notorious Prince Nicolas von Helsing-Alexandros into a proper gentleman for the sake of preserving a family inheritance. Even possessive Jonathan agrees it's a great opportunity to make social connections. But taming a prince might prove too big a professional challenge for Melissa when she's confronting so many seismic changes in her own personal life.
Jonathan needs her in Paris. Her sister Emery's newborn son needs a christening ceremony, as well as a proper name. Emery herself needs Melissa -- to protect her from their bulldog nanny who's returned to do much more than babysit. Most unsettling of all, Nelson needs her to find him a new flatmate because she'll be moving out soon. Balancing all this with late-night dinners, polo matches, and a Mediterranean cruise with Prince Nicky, who is as charming as he is exasperating, suddenly has bride-to-be Melissa dreaming of a fairy-tale ending -- and not the one she expected!
Discussion Questions 1. "I can't be bossy when I'm everyday Melissa, yet somehow when I'm walking in Honey's stilettos I turn into a whirlwind of retro-glamour and female dynamism" (p. 2). Compare and contrast Melissa's personality with that of her alter ego, Honey Blennerhesket. Why does Melissa feel compelled to transform herself into Honey for The Little Lady Agency? What does it suggest about her self-esteem? 2. How would you describe Melissa and Jonathan's relationship? Are they, as Melissa comes to believe, "more in love with the idea of each other than the reality" (p. 279)? Why or why not? 3. Is Melissa's reluctance to move to Paris indicative of larger issues in her relationship with Jonathan? How so? Discuss Jonathan's plan for the business he envisions running with Melissa. How do they each view her role in the company? 4. Melissa is convinced that Jonathan will never agree to her taking on the assignment with Nicky. Why, in fact, does her fiancé readily support the idea? And why is Melissa so surprised by his compliance? 5. Why does Melissa initially have misgivings about working with Nicky? Which of her methods of transforming him into a gentleman are effective, and why? Does Nicky truly change, or is it only an act? 6. Which aspects of Nicky's glamorous world intrigue Melissa? 7. Discuss Melissa's relationship with her family, whom she describes as "a bunch of melodramatic, self-centered schemers" (p. 12). If, as she says, "pretty much everything that went wrong chez Romney-Jones was my fault" (p. 27), why does she continually go to their aid and help them sort out their problems? 8. How do Nelson and Jonathan each view The Little Lady Agency and what it means to Melissa? 9. Melissa confides in Nicky that she is not sure Jonathan "really knows where Honey stops and Mel starts" (p. 272). Is Jonathan actually in love with Honey? Why or why not? How much of Melissa and Jonathan's relationship issues stem from the fact that he first met her as Honey? 10. When Melissa experiences some intense emotional turbulence, she says, "It was Nicky who did the best job of taking my mind off things" (p. 295). Why is Nicky the person with whom Melissa finds the most comfort? How do they progress from a contentious working relationship to something warmer? What do they have in common? 11. Melissa and Nelson have been flatmates and friends for years. How and why do Melissa's feelings about him change? On the way home from the yachting trip, why does Nelson push her away? Do his feelings about Melissa change? 12. What does Melissa learn about relationships from witnessing Granny's revived romance with Alexander? Of the three men in her life -- Jonathan, Nelson, and Nicky -- which do you think is the right match for Melissa? 13. Have you read the previous two novels featuring Melissa Romney-Jones, The Little Lady Agency and Little Lady, Big Apple? If so, how do they compare with The Little Lady Agency and the Prince? In what ways does Melissa change throughout the stories? Enhance Your Book Club 1. Follow Nelson's culinary lead and serve a traditional English dish such as Shepherd's Pie, paired with a bottle of Bordeaux. Or toast your discussion with champagne and indulge in French chocolates, a box of which Melissa keeps in her desk drawer "to be doled out as daily rewards." 2. Channel your inner Honey Blennerhesket and dress like Melissa when she transforms herself, donning apparel and accessories like stilettos, a corset, red lipstick, and maybe even a wig. Or, dress like the alter ego you'd most like to be. 3. Have a "Little Lady Agency" marathon and read all three novels featuring Melissa Romney-Jones, either for one discussion or as three months' worth of selections.
Hester Browne is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including The Little Lady Agency in the Big Apple, The Finishing Touches, and Swept Off Her Feet. She lives in London and Herefordshire with her two Basset hounds Violet and Bonham.
"Browne is in great form in this page-turning love story, and Melissa is as endearing and empowering as ever -- the perfect lead for this contemporary fairy tale." -- Publishers Weekly
"This reader was overcome with happiness after tearing open the package to reveal a most coveted item, a new novel by Browne. Having thoroughly enjoyed The Little Lady Agency and Little Lady, Big Apple, this reviewer had reason to believe this final installment might be the best yet....From start to finish, this take is a joy to read." -- Library Journal