Review: Royally Matched

Review: Royally MatchedRoyally Matched (Royally, #2) by Emma Chase
Series: Royally #2
on February 21st 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 276
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“I have an hour before I need to leave, so it’ll be tea and …Sense and Sensibility for a bit. It’s the perfect read. Just enough drama and angst to be interesting, but mostly light and entertaining, with the happiest ending. Colonel Brandon is my favorite–the ultimate book husband. He made good and upstanding look sexy as all get-out. Someday, I’ll meet a man just like him–romantic, steady, and reliable–and I don’t give a damn how silly that sounds. How immature or fanciful.

“Because I have a theory.

“If nightmares can come true, and sometimes they do…then so can our happiest dreams.”

FINAL DECISION:  Intensely romantic, this book feels a little more like a fairy tale than real life, but that’s one reason it is so good.  A shy librarian who falls in love with the future king of her country and tames the wild rake.

THE STORY:  Prince Henry is having trouble adjusting to being the heir apparent after his brother abdicated his position as next in line for the throne of their country.  Now, after a lifetime of fun and games, Henry is feeling the constant pressure to be perfect.  Temporarily banished to a distant estate, Henry agrees to participate in a matchmaker reality show to find a wife (think The Bachelor).  While beautiful women are all around him seeking fame and perhaps him, Henry is drawn to the sister of one of the contestants — Sarah Von Titebottum, a shy librarian who has agreed to accompany her sister to avoid having to give a presentation.  Despite his participation in the show, Henry has no intension of finding the love of his life — but Sarah changes all that.  But how can a man who has always been considered a shallow party animal and womanizer convince a woman looking for serious and responsible that he is man for her?

OPINION:  Funny, romantic and sweet was not what I expected when I read the description of this book, but that is what I got.  Henry is simply adorable. He’s a man who has placed in a position that he never expected to inhabit.  Now he is struggling to figure out how to be himself as heir when everyone else seems to be trying to tell him who he should be.  While his grandmother, the Queen, wants and expects Henry to be circumspect and proper, he instead decides to agree to a matchmaking reality show to find a bride. He doesn’t actually expect to find a bride — just relief from his boredom and internal fears of not measuring up.  He doesn’t expect to find Sarah.

While the two had met before, this is the first time that he has spent any significant time with her.  And he finds that she gives him the opportunity to be himself — a man — rather than a prince.  Their interactions are funny and sweet and while Henry is challenging Sarah to come out of her shell, she is allowing him to be responsible and serious in his own unique way.

Sarah was a particularly interesting character.  She has an air of innocence worthy of any potential bride of a prince, but she also has spunk and quirks that make her fun and modern.  I genuinely liked her and I loved how she is willing to see the man and not the prince.

This story is willing to be blatantly romantic.  There is a gauze of fairy tale over the entire story, but I thought that worked well for this story (which is different from the reality in the first book in the series).  I loved the book and if I had one complaint it is that I would like to see more of this couple together and happy because they have work to do in the world.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book is told in alternating first person point of view.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ROYALLY MATCHED is the second book in the Royally series.  While the romance is independent in this book, I think it is better to read the first book to understand more about Henry.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Royally Screwed

Review: Royally ScrewedRoyally Screwed (Royally, #1) by Emma Chase
Series: Royally #1
Published by Everafter Romance on October 18th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 276
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“But we can’t change who we are — not a queen, a prince, or a girl from New York. Like he told me once…royalty is forever.”

FINAL DECISION:  Romantic, funny and sexy.  I love this book.  Its tone, its humor, its intense emotional and romantic underpinnings.  The entirety seems like a modern fairy tale and I enjoyed every page.

THE STORY:  Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook is the Crowned Prince of Wessco. Women around the world are obsessed with the sexy heir to the throne. While Nicholas has thoroughly enjoyed his bachelor ways, his grandmother, the Queen, tells him that it is time for him to marry.  Nicholas, always aware of his position knows that he needs to comply, but he is going to make the most of the time he has left.  He first has to go to New York to handle his younger brother who is acting scandalously.  In New York, Nicholas meets Olivia Hammond who is running her family’s failing coffee house.  When Nicholas propositions her Olivia tosses a pie in his face and thus Nicholas has met the woman who can resist him.  In the months before his aristocratic bride will be announced, Nicholas and Olivia agree to have a temporary affair.  The question is what happens when a temporary affair becomes love that can’t lead to marriage.

OPINION:  I have become a real fan of Emma Chase’s style. I’ve only sporadically liked first person narratives, but I’ve always loved getting in the heads of Chase’s characters.  This book typifies why I like Chase’s style.  Her characters are flawed with big personalities and quirky senses of humor.  The obstacles that the characters face here feel insurmountable until everything falls into place for a happy ending.

And that is another thing I really liked about this book.  Somehow this book manages to walk the line between completely feeling contemporary and realistic and yet there is a fairy tale quality to the story that reaches it height at the ending (which I absolutely adored).

As we meet Nicholas in this book, he is the golden child.  Next in line for the throne of his country, he has tried to live up to the expectations of being royalty.  He’s tried to keep his relationships in their proper place and avoid scandal at all costs.  (In comparison his younger brother is the scandalous hellion). When Nicholas’s grandmother informs him that it is time to marry, Nicholas is unhappy, but he knows he needs to do his duty.  The acceptance of the reader that Nicholas is truly a man of duty is important to the story because that duty is what ultimately is going to keep Nicholas and Olivia apart. If Chase did not so deftly embed Nicholas’s duty into the very fiber of his character, the central conflict of the book would not have any power.  Instead, the real sense is that Nicholas is caught in a net from which he cannot escape no matter what he might emotionally want.

I absolutely adored Olivia.  She is a woman living on the edge.  Trying to support her family by operating the coffee shop, Olivia is not making ends meet.  Things are becoming desperate.  Yet, Olivia never wants to take advantage of the possibilities for money that could come from knowing Nicholas. She is moral and honest.  She also knows that Nicholas will be marrying the appropriate woman but is willing to enjoy all the possibilities in the meantime.  She knows there is no future for them but will take every moment that she can have.

I like books that make me cry and then rejoice and this book does that.  As things appear hopeless for Olivia and Nicholas, the emotions of the book were so strong that I teared up.  There seemed to be no solution to the dilemma — and then there was.  The sacrifice was huge, but that is the beauty of the book.  Love can be worthy of sacrifice.

WORTH MENTIONING: Oh, I can’t wait for Henry’s book.  I’ve always like the scoundrel.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ROYALLY SCREWED is the first book of the Royally series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars