To say I was behind the rage on this book is an understatement in the extreme. I was about two years behind…
BUT! This is one of those books that has withstood the popularity slump and has maintained its place in the hearts of bookstagrammers across the globe. As a matter of fact, it has jumped back onto the bestseller’s lists in the last couple weeks, two years after its release.
I have been circling this book for ages. It had been on my list since the day it came out, but thanks to my never ending to be read list, I never picked it up. I found myself at the Tattered Cover in Denver sometime in June 2019. Tattered Cover hosted a party every year where they would bring in ten or twelve romance authors, tons of free wine, and dozens of cupcakes. It was one of my favorite events of the year. This particular year there were some big names! Lisa Kleypas being the biggest at the event.
The real star of the show was Casey McQuiston though. This girl got in a car wreck right before the event on her way from Fort Collins and still put out 125% for all of us. She was one of the most likeable, bubbly, down to earth people I have ever met. I had not planned to buy her book that night, but after talking to her for a few minutes I knew I wanted it just because she was so awesome. I walked over to the table and as I was walking up, the last book got nabbed. My only chance at a signed copy was gone. It was tragic. She ended up being the star of the show, and with Lisa Kleypas there, that is saying a lot.
I never picked up the book after that. My divorce put my reading on a back burner.
Fast forward to Summer 2020. I was approached by a good friend of mine on Instagram (if you want quality plant and book content, plus real life mom problems, and just general fun go check her out at @jennastopreading on instagram. She hosts the ever-popular #murdermonday in her Instagram stories. Her blog can be found at http://www.jennastopreading.com) She wanted to host a buddy read for Red, White, and Royal Blue. I immediately accepted. I remember writing her a message and saying “Man, Jenna, I don’t know if I can keep up. I am horrible at assigned reading.” She laughed and added me to the group anyway. I read the book in about four days!
Just about every romance novel revolves around one or two classic tropes. It is one of the things that makes them so likeable. Red, White, and Royal Blue features the forbidden love and enemies to friends theme with the twist of the couple in question being gay, royalty, and on different continents. Seems like a stretch to make it all work right? It comes together beautifully.
Alex is the GEM of America. His mother is the first female president, the darling of Texas, and a trailblazer in many other ways. Alex is the pretty boy Poly Sci student with just a touch of danger about him. The world doesn’t know he is gay. Alex doesn’t know Alex is gay.
Henry is stodgy English royalty. He is stuck-up, too handsome for his own good, and has a major superiority complex according to Alex. (I just want to point out that I consider Alex an unreliable narrator in the first several chapters!) Because of his position, Henry is closeted in the extreme. He lives a life separate from who he truly is and is suffering through what his families vision for his future is.
Alex hates Henry. Henry hates Alex.
Naturally, these two cross paths. When I say they cross paths, I mean they dump about 2000 pounds of wedding cake all over a ballroom amid a tussle. International scandal ensues and the two men are foisted together to save face. Life-changing plot twists abound from there on out.
This book was absolutely lovely. It has some of the strongest character writing of any debut novel I have ever read. I LOVED every single character in the book. I am not usually one for anything with a political twist but this book was so well-rounded with other aspects that I was even sucked into the political piece. It was in my top three books for the year 2020. I cannot recommend it enough. It is also a very fast read, a true “I couldn’t put it down” situation. The majority of our group had finished the entire book before the discussion date for the first half. A fast reader could sit and finish it in an afternoon.
Looking for a light, fun, heartfelt read? Look no further. I would give it five out of five starts for every aspect and it is definitely a book that I would keep multiple copies on hand to lend out. Check out Casey’s other book and absolutely darling head shots at http://www.caseymcquiston.com.