All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

on July 8, 2019

Red, White & Royal Blue
Casey McQuiston
St Martin’s Griffen
2019, 423p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

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?

So I first heard about this book quite a few months ago – I heard about it when I was researching books being published in 2019 that I was anticipating and it immediately shot to the top of my Wishlist. I bought it as an eBook because I thought that being away from home and my massive print TBR would be a good time to get this one read and it was the first book I ended up reading here on holiday.

Alex is the mixed-race son of the first woman President of the United States. His mother was elected after Obama’s second term and she’s a Democrat from Texas (one of the few Presidents who lost her home state). Alex and his sister June live in the White House although they’re older than the last few sets of kids have been when their parents have moved in. Alex is passionate about politics and wants to be the youngest ever Congressman. Alex attends the royal wedding of British prince Prince Phillip and an unfortunate incident with Phillip’s brother Henry is splashed across newspapers and gossip sites all over the globe after the two crash through one very expensive wedding cake. Buckingham Palace and the White House come up with a very strict instruction for the wayward First Son and Prince to make nice and convince the world that their faux pas was really just two friends mucking around that got out of hand. And that they really are the best of friends and there’s no animosity in any way between these two longstanding countries. The curious thing is that the more Alex gets to know his former nemesis……the more he realises that his conflicted feelings for Henry were never about hate at all.

I freaking loved this. It was absolutely right up my alley from the awkward hate to love, the sizzling chemistry between Alex and Henry as they navigate their changing feelings towards each other, from Alex’s obvious laid back Americanness to Prince Henry’s stiff upper British lip and formal way of speaking. Alex has already seen one political nominee beat the odds in his mother, a woman from Texas with more liberal views and now just as she’s getting ready to launch her re-election campaign, Alex is falling in love with a very male, very British prince with expectations that come with his role. It has the possibility of causing huge ramifications should it become public. I’m neither American nor British but hey, I am a part of the Commonwealth so I guess we get just as much gossip about the royal family as if I were British and given Australia’s relationship with America, we get a lot of news about them also. So this felt super familiar to me and really made me feel like I had a bit of an understanding as to what it might be like living in the White House, the rules and protocols concerning secret service agents and travel (especially tax payer funded travel) and the ways in which such things can be used against the First Family by political opponents. Alex’s mother is up against a pretty savage Republican candidate who is willing to stop at nothing to get the top job, even break the law. There’s a lot of tongue in cheek stuff that references real life incidents (but her emails!) and it’s clever as heck. And funny. And charming. I adored the White House Trio of Alex, June and the VP’s granddaughter Nora aw well as Henry’s best friend Pez, his sister Beatrice and even the stuffier, buttonholed-into-his-future-role Phillip. I also loved the role of Zahra who is the Deputy Chief of Staff and the Prince’s equerry, Alex’s parents (divorced now, his mother has since remarried), all of the secondary characters are so well rounded and constructed and they all add something to the story. I adored the emails that Alex and Henry start sending each other, which soon end up being signed off with quotes from famous figures (former Presidents, former Kings, etc). Alex’s muddling through his new-found bisexuality (or his acknowledgement of it) is really well done and I appreciated Henry’s struggle as well and how he’d felt he couldn’t be himself, had been told he couldn’t be himself. It balances the humour and sexual tension/discovery really well with the more serious themes of identity and grief, loss, loneliness, public life and routine.

I want 100 books just like this, that give me the same sort of feels that this one did.


Book #100 of 2019


3 responses to “Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

  1. I loved this book so much!

  2. I was curious what someone who tends to read more adult books would feel about this since I know the YA community was raving about it. Seems it might have universal appeal.

  3. […] Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. Possibly my romance of the year – this book is amazing in 5,000,000 different ways. A Hispanic First Son of America and a very British prince who cause a scene and are then told by their respective minders that it’s time to make nice….and they discover that under that animosity that actually kinda like each other a lot. This is amazing. 1,000,000 more like this would be fab. My review. […]

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