This post was originally published on June 25, 2015 on The Biblio-Files.
Author: Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Publishing Info: Published in 2015 by Grand Central Publishing
Number of Pages: 452
My Rating: 5/5
Whatever this is… it doesn’t happen twice in a lifetime. I’d rather work at this with you than settle for less with anyone else.
I originally picked up this book after seeing it featured on Janet Maslin’s 2015 summer reading list for the New York Times (which you can find here) and, to tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure I was going to love it. I mean, the premise sounded pretty familiar- American college student gets a spot in a study abroad program at Oxford and falls in love with a prince- and I was worried this book was going to be glorified William and Kate fanfiction. To an extent, I suppose that is exactly what this book is, but boy was my first impression wrong!
The Royal We centers around our main character, Rebecca “Bex” Porter, who attends Cornell University with her twin sister and best friend, Lacey. Bex’s whole life changes, however, when she applies to a study abroad program at Oxford University and ends up living down the hallway from Nick, the future king of England. Eventually the two fall in love and this book focuses on the ups and downs of their relationship over a ten year period. What made this book so wonderful, in my personal opinion, is not the romance between Nick and Bex but the wide range of supporting characters who help shape and develop their ongoing story. From the friends Bex makes at Oxford (who range from a highly impressionable, up-and-coming fashion designer to a descendant of the man who invented the font Garamond), to Bex’s hilarious and endearing family, to Nick’s own royal relatives (including cheeky younger brother Freddie and overbearing grandmother Queen Eleanor), Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan have created a world of characters so rich that you will feel like you are visiting old friends every time you flip through the pages. As the book goes on, you not only get to see how all this different people impact Nick and Bex but how they evolve and mature as they progress from university students to fully-fledged adults with families and responsibilities. Even if you were to completely disregard the story line, this book would still be completely fantastic due to the character development alone!
Another aspect of this book that I highly enjoyed was the complexity of the relationship between Nick and Bex. Their first encounters are not Kodak-worthy love at first sight moments, and in fact it takes them quite a good number of pages to even get together in the beginning of the book! The pair bond over binge watching tacky television shows into the early hours of the morning and start off as just very normal, relatable people.They have fights (even a few break ups) and I love that even though Cocks and Morgan are depicting what sounds in theory like the perfect fairy tale relationship, the love story of Nick and Bex is far from predictable. Another important component Cocks and Morgan tackle in this novel is the many downsides of being romantically involved with someone in the spotlight. From the relentless paparazzi, to the nasty rumors, to the obsessive routine Bex must maintain in order to be considered a suitable girlfriend for the future heir, this book really makes you stop and ponder about the way celebrities are treated in our society and will make you think twice before taking a magazine headline at face value ever again.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough, especially if you love a good bit of romance and an interesting look into the everyday workings of the royal family. This book is quite a long one, however don’t let that intimidate you, because once you have turned the last page you will find yourself wishing there was more to the story (I know I did!). I would love to know if you have read this book and, if you have, if you loved it as much as I did. Below, I will include links to the Goodreads summary of this book (in case you are interested), as well as the link to Go Fug Yourself, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan’s fashion blog! Happy reading everybody! 🙂