This Book Was Great But Prince Harry Still Isn’t Marrying Me: A Review of “Royals”

April 29, 2018

(Originally posted on my old book review blog, HilliterateBlog!)

Cheerio, fellow Royal Family Enthusiasts! I've been on a bit of a hiatus due primarily to being very busy/tired/stressed, so thanks for bearing with me. In lieu of book-blogging, I've been trying to perfect my British accent and colloquialisms in preparation for my time of mourning a.k.a. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding, like any Very Normal and Well Adjusted Former Colonist. It's going well so far. Bob's yer uncle.

On a related note, I just had to come back in time to tell you about the wonderful and hilarious Royals by Rachel Hawkins, coming out this Tuesday! I was thrilled to receive an ARC through the bookstore where I work, as I follow Hawkins on Twitter and had been getting HYPED for this book based on what she'd revealed about it. Let me start by saying that one of my all-time favorite tropes in books/movies/TV/William and Harry's real lives is that of Normal Girl/Woman Falls in Love with Prince, especially if it includes the highly improbable but equally entertaining addition of She Doesn't Know He is a Prince. Royals is...not exactly either of those things, but I liked it even better for its fun twist on what's been done before.

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Our protagonist is the teenage Daisy Winters, an average Florida girl who works in a grocery store and whose greatest joy stems from planning with her best friend for their late summer trip to Key Con, a big nerd convention. The fact that her older sister Ellie is dating Prince Alexander of Scotland (alternate history, just go with it) has comically little bearing on Daisy's life — until Ellie and Alex get engaged, Daisy's idiotic ex-boyfriend tries to slander her in a tabloid, and Daisy finds herself shipped overseas for the summer to spend time laying low in the presence of her sister's future in-laws.

So much drama and hilarity ensues in the Motherland as Daisy learns that the royal family isn't nearly as perfect, prim, and proper as they would have the outside world think. Most of the action centers around "the spare" — Alexander's younger brother, Sebastian — and his rowdy group of friends who take Daisy in and show her what their privileged, partying lifestyle is all about. There are also those who would prefer that Daisy herself try to be more serious and assimilate to the perfect image that has already been imposed on Ellie. A royal advisor of sorts, Glynnis tries to teach Daisy about the right ways to act, speak, and even dress — causing one of the funnier acknowledgements of royal romance tropes when Daisy is like, "OMG! It's time for my makeover montage!" (I'm paraphrasing, as it seems that you're not supposed to directly quote ARCs). There is also Sebastian's stern best friend Miles, who takes it upon himself to keep Seb's wild behavior in check and would like Daisy not to cause any distractions. Readers follow Daisy's journey through her new pseudo-royal life as she finds out more than she ever expected about family, love, and loyalty.

Needless to say, Royals is one of my new favorite books. I told my boyfriend that I thought this would be the case when I had barely made it past the first chapter. Hawkins' writing just sucked me in and it felt like I was being immersed in so many of the things I like best in a book — princes, castles, romance, General Britishness, girl power, travel, and SO MUCH comedy. Seriously, Royals made me laugh out loud so often with quips that (much like Hawkins' tweets) fit my exact brand of humor. Like, I can't give that many good examples right now, but Daisy does things like referring to a boring guy as the human equivalent of a tea cozy. That sounds unfunny when I type it, but reading it in context, I was DYING. In a good way. This is one of those "you had to be there" funny stories, isn't it? Just trust me.

I know I've gushed a lot, but wow, I loved this read. Royals is one of those books for me that feels like a hug — I'm left with pretty much all good feelings the whole way through, and I genuinely think I'll read it again and again when I need a pick-me-up or when I get in a reading funk. Can't recommend this book enough!

Royals by Rachel Hawkins will be released in stores in just TWO DAYS on Tuesday, May 1st! If it sounds like your thing, go pick up a copy. If it doesn't, get one anyway.

Let me know what you think when you've read Royals, and I'd also love to hear any of your favorite royal-romance-type reads in the comments or on social media. Always on the lookout to fill the Prince Harry shaped void in my life.

Peace, love, and tea with crumpets,

K. Hill