06 April 2015

Royal Review: The Royal We

When I found out that Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan -- the writers behind one of my favorite fashion and pop culture blogs, Go Fug Yourself -- had written a novel about a fictional royal family, I had a sneaking feeling I was going to like it. And I was right -- from the minute I cracked open my copy of The Royal We, available on shelves this week, I was absolutely hooked.

The book follows the complicated and sometimes hilarious relationship between an average American college student, Bex, and the (fictional) heir to the British throne, Nick. The pair meet while living in close proximity at university, develop a stealth romance, face press scrutiny, and go through some serious relationship ups and downs -- all with the pressure of royalty hanging over their heads.

Sound familiar? The book, of course, is inspired in part by the real-life romance between Kate Middleton and Prince William, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The characters aren't just facsimiles of Wills and Kate -- Nick and Bex are characters with their own motivations, histories, and feelings -- but the book taps into something that I think a lot of us have wondered about: what exactly it would be like to be a fly on the wall in the palace, to see what it's really like to be a commoner who falls in love with a future head of state.

The book touches on some of the major themes and issues of the world of modern monarchy: the pressure exerted by the press, the desire to have freedom within a necessarily restrictive lifestyle, the difficulty of separating true friends from those who are only interested in power and fame, and the complicated relationship between duty and individuality. I especially liked the subplot that dealt with Nick's parents. His mother isn't precisely Princess Diana, but her character is totally fascinating, as is her relationship with Nick's father.

(There's also one scene -- where a future princess gets to sit and take her pick from a series of royal tiaras -- that taps VERY DEEPLY into my wildest dreams. You'll all especially like that part too!)

I absolutely devoured this book. It was a light, fun read that would be perfect for a day of relaxing vacation reading this spring or summer, and I can't recommend it highly enough. I should clarify that, if you look very carefully at the acknowledgments page, you'll see my name included there. I was extremely flattered that Heather and Jessica used this site during their research, but my positive review here wasn't influenced by that. I genuinely enjoyed the book, and I think that many of you who hang out here with me every day will love it as well!

The Royal We is available at Amazon and other outlets starting tomorrow, April 7. You can pre-order the book now, but even better, you can also preview the first seven chapters for free! Have any of you added The Royal We to your to-read pile yet?

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions shared here are my own. Links to the book within this post are my affiliate links from Amazon; if you purchase the book, or any other products, through one of these links, I receive a small monetary compensation (which I use to purchase more materials for review for this site!).