Review: Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston


The Story

After a disaster at heir-to-the-throne Prince Philip’s wedding to Martha, younger brother Prince Henry of Wales and America’s “First Son,” Alex, must pretend to be friends and do some charity appearances together. Soon they discover that thanks to their parents (and subsequently their own) roles on their national stages, they have a lot in common. But wait! There’s more! Soon, the two young men fall deeply in love.

What I Liked

While this is totally fictitious, I couldn’t help but see either a young Prince Charles who was cool (and not a “young fogey”) or a Prince Harry who was academic (and not a student dodged with rumors of ‘help’ with his A level in art).  Alex was the typical hyper-achieving son of hyper-achieving American parents. One who was often told he was “great,” but not told much that he was “good enough” [I listened to the audio and couldn’t stop the car and write down the actual quote that time.] Henry, the son of a brainy mother (the first royal with a Ph.D.) and James Bond (his late father played 007) wore his heart on his sleeve while brother Philip was tightly wound and sister Beatrice went to rehab.

But Henry has more intuition than he likes to let on. When a role model lets Alex down badly, Henry tells him: “Someone else’s choice can’t change who you are.” And, when they are falling in love reassures Alex, “Sometimes you must jump and hope it isn’t a cliff.” [I’ve used quotation marks but these maybe just a little off the quote.]

This was a fun read. Not quite the West Wing, but still very witty and fast-paced. Royal fans will love it.

My Thoughts

Keeping in mind this is unapologetically a summer rom-com book, and one written for a much younger audience (20 somethings), I adored this book. I admit I was uneasy–I’ve never read a same-sex romance before. There was sex and I was anxious about how that would be portrayed. I often throwback books with “ick” moments in sex scenes. Guess what? Yes, there were a few words here and there throughout the book that aren’t beloved by my generation–but nothing that would have phased my own 20-something kids. The sex? I didn’t squirm once. It’s a rom-com, not an adult bodice-ripper, so it was the normal type and level of description for any rom-com. And, unlike any hetero rom-com I’ve ever read, they stopped long enough to use a condom and lube. (Ick moment of this review). The only squirming I did was with the predictably over-the-top rom-com ending –a lighter touch with the speachifying would have been good. But, who cares! It was fun–that’s all a rom-com is supposed to be.

My verdict

Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston

Do you enjoy royal fiction? Check out my recent New Royal Fiction post here.

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