To start this review, I actually need to go back 5 years in time, to when I read the first book in the series, The Royal We. Goodreads informs me that I liked that book well enough to give it a 4 star rating though I did not bother to write an actual review for it. There is no possible way I could ever hope to remember the plot for a book I read 5 years ago beyond the information contained in the blurb. I vaguely recall that Freddie, younger brother of and the spare to Prince Nicholas, who is the heir to the British throne, admitted his love for American commoner Rebecca (Bex) and kissed her. Bex and Nick were in love and engaged. Bex rebuffs Freddie and the book ends with them getting married while someone in their inner circle betrays them by blackmailing them over a scandalous (and untrue) tabloid story implying Bex and Freddie have been having an affair behind Nick’s back.
Given the 5 year gap between books, I had not anticipated that this book would literally pick up where the last book had left off. Thankfully, the first couple of chapters provide enough context to help me remember enough about who these characters are and how they ended up here. I should state before I go any further that this is going to be a pretty spoilery review.
[Spoiler Warning: Here's where you stop scrolling if you don't want to know plot things.]
Much of the first part of the book is spent with Nicholas and Freddie at odds with each other, Nicholas (rightfully) because his brother made a pass at Bex and Freddie because, after their wedding, when the story of Bex and Freddie having an affair hit the tabloids, Bex and Nick took off for parts unknown to get away from the royals and the press. I do not understand at all why Freddie would be angry given he was very clearly in the wrong and the book does not do that great a job to make him all that sympathetic. My sympathies should lie with Nick except the writers don’t do a very good job of making HIM that sympathetic either. It’s Bex I feel for the most as she’s caught in the middle between two entitled, self-involved princes with massive daddy issues who engage in all manner of one upmanship to prove who is more indispensable to the monarchy.
The second half of the book is the really messy part. It’s a kitchen sink book and the authors threw every conceivable issue they could think of at Bex and Nick. There are rumors of infidelity (this time, on Nick’s part - but no cheating), a miscarriage, inability to conceive which leads to Nick and Bex asking Freddie to be their sperm donor, and in what is unquestionably the biggest reveal of the book, the discovery of a long held family secret that, if made public, woud definitively alter the true line of succession.
I read most of this book as if I were reading a very gossipy tell-all, I stopped caring about most of the characters well before the halfway point and by the time I turned the last page, I felt like I had read an E! True Hollywood Story version of the monarchy. Parts of this book made me laugh (due in large part to the supporting characters) but mostly, this book was a pass for me because I couldn’t muster up any interest in the happiness of any of these characters.
Content Warnings: on page miscarriage, inability to conceive, off page affair between minor characters in the past, death of supporting character, injury of major character sustained in military service, off page kidnapping of minor character in the past resulting in fear of going out in public, mental illness of minor character (not seen but referred to), allegations of cheating (untrue)
FTC Disclaimer: Melanie received an ARC from the publisher.