**I received an advanced copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**
The Book Itself: There’s no doubt that this is a romance! And also no doubt that it has just a little bit to do with a certain, real life, royal wedding.
My Review: 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.
I loved this lovely book. Seriously, I finished it around one in the morning, tears in my eyes, and as soon as I woke up the next morning, it was in my mind again. It’s cheesy, even hokey at times, and it’s definitely a storyline you’ve seen or heard of in books and movies before, but it’s done so, so well here.
The Prince & Me, The Princess Diaries, What a Girl Wants: all stories about women happening upon royalty. In The Royal We, Bex Porter gets the chance to achieve that lifelong, little-girl dream: becoming a princess. But of course, there are Strings. Like estrangement from one’s twin. Having to give up passions, jobs, and friendships to better serve the monarchy. Dealing with the constant absence of a prince-in-training, who is also, one believes, the love of one’s life. And really mean people on the Internet. Gotta hate the really mean people on the Internet. How Bex deals with these issues is believable and heartbreaking.
It’s pure wish fulfillment, this book. And you get to really like Bex. Nick. Their friends and confidantes. From the very beginning of the book, we know that it’s the day before their wedding, and Something Big has happened that just might cancel said wedding. So we know that 1.) They stay together, get engaged, plan a wedding. And 2.) All the backstory that makes up the bulk of the book is leading up to the Something Big, because it’s the crux on which the whole book, and our two main characters’ relationship, hinges on.
But here’s the thing: even though you know that they stay together long enough to get to the night before their wedding, it still guts you when they have problems. The self-doubt, the people that come in between them…I kept flipping pages to see how they’d get through it, even though I already knew they would!
It’s not without its little issues. Both Bex and Nick come off as a little too unrealistically good sometimes. Nick, especially. I mean, sure, he’s been drilled on manners from a young age, trained to be a gentleman and rehearsed in royalty since diapers. And while he contributes to some of the relationship problems, he’s overall just a little too dreamy. Bex, the flawed American, does the lion share of the mistakes. And both of them are eloquent to the point that even in a fight, they say just the right thing. It’s a nice thing to read, but perhaps not super realistic.
And the secondary characters do feel a little 2D. Gaz, Cilla, Bea, Gemma…most of them are just there to be Bex’s support group (she literally hires half of them to coach her once she’s a royal fiance). They’re excellent friends, but not overly complex.
But I think those are very minor gripes. It’s a superb, escapist read. It played out like the best romantic comedy, and I fell in love with the people in it. I will reread this book, and I don’t usually do that (I find it hard to re-experience something I already know all the secrets to). And I’m jealous for all the people who get to read it for the first time! If you like the occasional romance, read this one, as it’s excellently built and might just make you shed a tear or two.
My Grade: A