About Books #40: The Royal We

may or may not have mentioned just once or twice that I kind of like the British royals. Just a tad :)I also really like it when people write romance stories that are pretty darn obviously based on them, but focus on the concept of a commoner moving into the royal family. You know, the kind of Hallmark story that just makes you incredibly happy. Well, that’s the kind of book I needed to read for the #inloveathon, and The Royal We is the book that I chose. And kind of fell in love with 🙂

The book

As per the usual, let’s go to Goodreads for a nice summary of the story:

“I might be Cinderella today, but I dread who they’ll think I am tomorrow. I guess it depends on what I do next.”

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become.

Which is how she gets into trouble.

Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing. ”

If that sounds like fanfiction for Kate Middleton meeting William? Yeah, that’s kind of the whole point!

The opinion

There’s a lot of ways a story like this could be handled. A large majority of them focus on romance and romance only. As you could probably already gather from the summary, that’s not so much the point of this book. More than any similar story I’ve read before, The Royal We focusses on the realistic aspect of this sort of a plot. When Kate Middleton started dating William? There was a lot of harassment from the press. There was a lot of waiting and even a lot of doubting on both parties’ side.

One of the things I’ve mentioned a couple of times when discussing why I love Cathy Kelly and Jill Mansell is the realism. That’s exactly the thing I appreciated so much about this book as well. Marrying into a royal family is definitely an example of “if you marry them, you marry their family” taken to the extreme. For both Nick ànd Bex, actually.

There’s Nick’s mother, whose faith is definitely a play on that of Princess Diana. There’s Nick’s brother, Freddie, who is 100% Prince Harry. And there’s even Bex’ sister, Lacey, who is obviously a perciflage of Pippa. And her father’s company which gets exactly the kind of criticism that the Middleton’s received.

Best of all? The story features a couple of plot twists that I did not see coming. There’s one that had me crying, one that had me both pissed and feeling pity and crying, and one that just made me incredibly angry. There’s one concerning Bex’s family, one concerning Nick’s family and one concerning a mutual friend of theirs.

And let me be clear. Where I would have been happy with the “fictionised reality” The Royal We was without them. Those twists were what made the book and lifted it to a whole new level.

The rating: 4/5

Let it be clear: I enjoyed this book. A lot, even. It’s exactly the kind of story I would love. That also means it had a lot of expectations to live up to, though. And you know what? Thanks to the way the various characters were developped. And thanks to those three twists. And the fact that it actually narrates everything from the moment they meet. Up to and including the wedding about 8 years later.

It wasn’t quite a book that changed my life, or I would have gone for 4.5/5. That being said, however? If you want an incredibly fluffly read that has some actual substance to it? And of course: if you like yourself some royal love? Then this is an absolute recommendation! (Amazon, Goodreads)

-Saar