I've had this book for a while, but had lacked the motivation to start it, despite the good reviews, because of the premise. Really, rich girl running away to experience real life - oh, come on, such an old idea(q.v. "The Prince and the Pauper" of fairy tale fame)! I finally started it, and after slogging through the first couple of pages and cringing a little, I got into the pace of the story. I also surprised myself, because although it wasn't the kind of book that I just couldn't put down until 3 AM, I kept drifting back to it night after night, wanting to see what would happen next. So, it kind of grew on me, I guess.
If you've read the other reviews, you already know that Shelby Taite is a poor little rich girl with a gay brother; she's engaged to marry, but the wedding is really more of a business merger. She had an alcoholic Uncle Alfred who inspires her to sample life's zest before she "settles," and a chauffeur named Jim who unwittingly points her in the direction of a small town (known as "East Wappy" to the locals). As the trailer says, "the bride takes a hike" - straight to nowheres-ville. Her relatives hire security expert and bodyguard Quinn Delaney to track her down and make sure she stays safe until she comes to her senses and returns. We get to watch what happens along the way.
This book felt like it was spending a lot of time pulling my leg. The characters start out so stereotyped that I felt as if I were watching a farce. HOWEVER - and here's where I got hooked - they all proved themselves to be more than their surface appearances. I liked watching Quinn's evolution from a cynical bodyguard, to a man hopelessly in love (and KM's writing during those scenes was beautiful). Somerton, Shelby's brother, turned out to be more than the sum of his parts, with some unexpected concern and gumption. Jeremy, Somerton's significant other, was just plain funny, although along with Shelby's fiance' from hell (Parker), he was among the most sterotyped of the characters. Uncle Albert, with his charmingly affectionate personality sadly flawed by too much love for alcohol, turned out to have surprising depth and an ability to reflect this back onto the others.
There isn't a real slam-bash ending to this book; in fact, it's fairly predictable and anticipated. The strength of the story lies in the character development and the evolution of the love relationship between Quinn and Shelby. This is a sweet story that kept me coming back for more and turned out to surprise me, so I gave it 5 stars. Enjoy it.