Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Book Review: Queen of Hearts

Queen Charlotte of Malquar has a talent. She’s already helped two of her children find mates, and now she’s convinced her daughter’s new secretary would be a perfect partner for her remaining single son.

Agnes Dupuis has a plan. She’s going to work for the royal family for a couple of years before opening her own upscale employment agency. When she starts her job with Princess Aubrey, she knows everything is on track. After a short time, she gets transferred to the crown prince’s staff, and she couldn’t be more ecstatic.

At thirty-five, Prince Andrew knows it’s past time for him to find a bride. Unfortunately, it’s a nearly impossible task. While he would like to marry for love, it doesn’t look like that will be an option. His future wife will be queen one day and she must have all the necessary skill sets to thrive in that role.

Sparks fly when Agnes and Drew start to work together. Drew fights his attraction for his new secretary as hard as he can. Meanwhile, Agnes doesn’t know what she’s doing wrong. She can’t seem to do anything to make the prince happy.

Will Queen Charlotte be responsible for another match? Or are Agnes and Drew destined to forever butt heads.

Find out in the deliciously fun sixth installment of the Seven Brides for Seven Mothers Series. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Melissa Amster:

I have read all the books from the Seven Brides for Seven Mothers series, even though Sara has mainly been doing the reviews. It has been fun to see the stories evolve from a glamping site in the Willamette Valley to the fictional town of Malquar, home of King Alfred, Queen Charlotte, and their many kids. This transition started with It's My Party, where we first met Geoffrey, who was working as a chef at the glamping lodge. Now that Geoffrey, Alistair, and Bree have met their true loves, thanks to the help of some meddling mothers (including the Queen), it's Andrew's turn. 

In Queen of Hearts, Andrew (Drew) is next in line to be king and he takes that very seriously. So seriously that he won't even consider dating someone outside of his "station." And that includes Agnes, his new secretary whom he finds very attractive. This causes him to act in a way he doesn't normally act toward his staff, and his mom knows it. 

I enjoyed the Queen's machinations for trying to get Drew to admit he wants to be with Agnes, regardless of her "station." Some things didn't even need to be manipulated by her since they fell into place so easily on their own. However, Chantelle is an extra complication, as she thought she had a chance at being Drew's intended and she can't handle the "competition" for his interest. (Think Princess Diaries meets Mean Girls here.) I don't blame Agnes for being angry at Drew so often throughout the novel. This story had a sizzling enemies-to-lovers appeal, as a result!

This was a fun and sweet story, overall. There were many moments where I found myself laughing and smiling. I got frustrated with the Queen not just telling Andrew that he could marry whomever he wants, regardless of their status in society. However, we wouldn't have a story if that had happened. (Kind of like Glinda telling Dorothy she could go home just by clicking her heels, when she first meets her.) And Drew seemed set in his ways no matter what anyone told him otherwise. 

Add this to your Valentine's Day reading list, as it's the perfect fit! (And not just because of the title.) Be sure to check out At Last, which will be available in early February. There is even some foreshadowing in this novel for At Last...

Movie casting suggestions:
Agnes: Yael Grobglas 
Drew: Henry Cavill
Queen Charlotte: Emma Thompson
Chantelle: India de Beaufort
Amelia: Janet McTeer

Sara Steven:

I’ve read the majority of the books within the Seven Brides for Seven Mothers series, and I really love the addition of Queen of Hearts! The two main characters, Agnes and Andrew, provided a lot of romantic angst, given they see things so differently when it comes to matters of the heart. Agnes wants to marry for love, while Andrew feels he must marry for responsibility. Given the past and what he’s seen within his own family, he’s convinced he needs to marry someone who will understand the royal lifestyle, which means marrying someone who is of royal background, like him. 

I love how Agnes goes against the grain and won’t put up with Andrew’s crap. Andrew doesn’t mean to come off as an elitist, but I could totally understand why Agnes feels as though she could never be good enough for him, or measure up. He’s set the standards so high, and the way Agnes has been written and portrayed, she’s a wonderful character! At times, I felt she might be too good for him. She makes him question his archaic rules at every turn, which I really appreciated. She is a strong, tough character. 

The meddling mothers are back again, with Queen Charlotte leading the way in attempting to make a match between Andrew and Agnes. It was nice to see the similarities between Queen Charlotte and Agnes, given the Queen’s background. But even with that, Agnes is really great about setting some boundaries when she begins to feel as though the Queen is becoming too involved. There were times when I felt annoyed by it, too, considering Agnes is put into some uncomfortable and awkward situations, all in the name of matchmaking. I wouldn’t have put up with half of what she went through, and when Agnes takes a stand, it was impossible not to champion her.

Ultimately, Andrew needs to figure out for himself if the responsibility to the crown is worth losing love, and Agnes needs to determine if Andrew is worth the wait. Will he ever see her as more than just her station in life, or will Agnes move on? I really enjoyed the fire between them, and the "will they, won’t they?" foundation that provided a lot of entertainment. A definite five-star read for me!

Thanks to Whitney Dineen for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Whitney Dineen:

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