Summer Reading: A (fabulous) fictional foray into the life of The Royals.
File this under ‘Books That Are Nearly Impossible To Put Down’: The latest novel from blogging duo Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, The Royal We, is an absolute delight from start to finish. It is the kind of ‘dessert read’ for which you need not feel guilty—as its prose is fast-moving and breezy, yet smart and clever—in short, what you *wish * US Weekly would be (Except. It. Is. Not.).
The Royal We is a contemporary Roman à clef of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge that manages to create its own world that is original and wholly entertaining, even as its story is imbued with some details inspired by the courtship of Wills and Kate.
Instead of St. Andrews, readers are given the backdrop of Oxford as the setting wherein American exchange student Rebecca (Bex) Porter and Nicholas (Nick) Wales, future King of England, meet for the first time. Bex has come to the UK from Cornell to further her study of art and history in the idyllic setting, and also to find her own identity apart from that of her twin (Lacey, also a student at Cornell). Over time, Bex’s good nature and friendliness earns her the acceptance of Nick’s inner circle—and eventually she and Nick realize that they are drawn to each other apart from the group. Once they confess their mutual attraction, they embark on a relationship that spans two continents once Bex returns to the U.S. to complete her degree until she returns to London to work and reunite with Nick.
There is one problem, however, and it’s a big one. The looming shadow of the monarchy and its expectations and obligations.
Bex and Nick carry out their relationship in private for several years, until they finally receive the (reluctant) permission of the Queen to be seen together (platonically) in public. This newfound public visibility is not, as it turns out, a good thing—and it leads to the couple’s split. The British press mocks this ‘yankee’ who lacks aristocratic bloodlines—and suggests that she is a climber with designs on the heir to England’s throne.
Will they reunite? Will true love win? Will they each manage to keep some of themselves, even though forces (the Queen, Royals watchers, turncoat friends, and jealous siblings) conspire against them?
You must read it to find out! So, so good—the most fun literary indulgence I have had in a long time.