Monday, April 29, 2019

ARC Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue
A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends... 

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations. 

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him. 

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

Todd's rating:

Wow, this book was EVEN BETTER than I had dared hope. : )

I'd initially held off on requesting this book until early reviews hit Goodreads because:

1.) Royal*anything* usually bores me to tears.

2.) So do books involving politics of any shape or form.

But this story was a delicious mix of drama, angst, excitement and, most importantly, hope.

I loved both First Son Alex and HRH Prince Henry right from the get go, as they first snarked their way into my heart, then as feelings began to develop, gave me enough banter to keep me laughing every few pages.

I also found the side characters to be a delight, from First Daughter June to Second Daughter Nora to Princess Beatrice to Alex's parents and friends. They were all worthy of their places in the story, only adding to my level of interest.

As the story began, Alex's intense dislike for "HRH Prince Dickhead" wasn't really addressed in-depth; however, once their first meeting was detailed out, I have to admit that I didn't care much for Henry, either.

Then after they were forced to spend time together as pretend BFF's, trying to undo damage to international relations at a Royal wedding, Henry's staunch fa├žade began to slip and we got to see glimpses of the boy behind the unfeeling, arrogant mask. And I *loved* him from there on out.

This was basically your "boy is enamored of boy, finally meets boy, get slighted by boy, hates boy, then they work through their shit, eventually falling madly in love" story and it totally worked for me.

Yes, there was lots of political speak, with Alex's mother being POTUS, and Henry's grandmother being the Queen of England, but it never got to be too much, as humor, feelings, and just... *realness* permeated the pages.

There was also a ton of political intrigue, with an unexpected act of betrayal, which I felt made the book more than less interesting for me. That was a big ole' shock and a departure from my norm, let me tell you.

I did have a few niggles, Firstly, at 432 (reported) pages, the story felt suuuuuper long, although I never found myself bored. At times, the pacing felt a bit on the slow side, but the humor did its job in keeping me engaged.

Secondly, PRESENT TENSE.  Ugh.  ‘Nuff said.

Lastly, OMMFG, Henry's propensity to imitate Carl Lewis, pulling a runner and ghosting Alex on more than one occasion, nearly drove me to goddamn drink. True story.

But Alex wasn't one to be ignored, fortunately, so if a bitch needed read, he was the right man for the job, always pulling these two adorable dumbasses back onto The Road to True Love, capitalized, because it's 'a thing' .

I'm extremely happy that I stepped out of my usual comfort zone and gave this book a chance, and would rate it at around 4.75 stars for the humor and feels.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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  2. Great review Todd :) I've been looking forward to reading it. It's out June 1st here in the UK.

    1. I really hope it catches on. It was super entertaining with just the right mix of... EVERYTHING! : )


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