Even though I’m not a huge follower of everyone’s beloved Royal Family, I was very intrigued to read this story that is ‘loosely based’ on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The authors of this novel are two American women who admit in the acknowledgments that they toured Buckingham Palace and spent an extended period of time researching. Still, I somehow had a shred of hope that they knew something we didn’t – could this actually be the true story of Will and Kate disguised as a Chick Lit Novel?
Bex is an American studying at the prestigious Oxford University in England, an ocean away from her twin sister Lacey. It’s no secret that Prince Nicholas of Wales is also studying at Oxford, but to Bex’ surprise, he was also living with her in the same dorm called Pembroke, and it wasn’t long before they fell into the same crowd.
Nick and Bex became close friends long before they fell in love – but falling in love with a Prince is far less glamourous than it sounds. Amidst the elaborate functions and expensive clothing also comes a slew of paparazzi hounding their every move around the clock, and a family less than excited about a Prince falling in love with an ‘ordinary American’.
The question is simple: Will Bex and Nick make it to the altar, or will they let outside influences tear them apart?
The answer isn’t as simple as one might think in this book.
There is certainly not a lack of ‘fullness’ in this book, as it’s almost as chaotic as this story may be in real life. The amount of characters introduced sometimes led to confusion (who is that again?), but definitely contributed to a colourful cast. I especially enjoyed the dynamic between Bex and Lacey but felt that some of the more insignificant characters could have been left on the editing table.
The length is also something I struggled with. The middle section has some pivotal moments taking place, but I felt this section could have been omitted almost entirely. I had to return to this section to re-read it after I finished this book because I knew the outcome and really wanted to continue with the turmoil surrounding Nick and Bex's relationship.
As I earlier mentioned, my knowledge of the Royal Family is minimal at best, and when I began this book, it felt like I was reading somewhat of a tabloid. The language seemed very relaxed and I wondered if these authors were completely inexperienced. However, I stumbled upon some literary gems throughout the book that stood out so much I actually highlighted them purposefully for this review. One of my favourites: “We’d bought last minute tickets in the back row after a long Sunday at the Bodleian, and watched agape as the legendary musical unfolded like a disjointed feline fever dream.” Another: “My favourite urban legend about Freddie (Nick’s brother) claims he got caught in flagrante delicto with the daughter of a Russian political leader, a week before she was to be married off as part of a covert alliance. But the very best part is that it isn’t an urban legend at all. Every word of it is true.” This prose is not that of fledgling wanna-be writers, it is that of truly talented authors and is what makes this book a success.
Although this book is a very entertaining, light read, I do think these women will have a long, successful career. If this is the type of book they can pen with no actual experience but simply skillful research, I have no doubt their next book will be even better. I’d actually like to see them write a more serious drama and think they would do well in crime-based novels. Congrats to Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks on a successful debut!
Thanks to Grand Central Publishing for the book in exchange for an honest review. They have FIVE copies for some lucky readers in the US and/or Canada!
Michelle Drodge is 29 and lives in a small town north of Toronto in Canada with her daughter, who is five going on fifteen. She works in Restaurant Development during the day, but moonlights as an aspiring writer after her daughter goes to sleep. One day she hopes to see her own book on the shelf alongside her favourite Chick Lit authors!
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