I might have been able to squeeze in another book before the end but it took longer than expected to get through The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan, which is not a bad thing.
Yes, the novel is clearly inspired by the regal romance of England's Prince William and Kate Middleton(and given more relevance these days with another British royal wedding on the way) yet these characters are not paper dolls for the authors to play with. They're fully thought out,relatable people that you connect with and want to follow on their emotional journey.
From their first meeting at Oxford to a friendship based on binge watching a cheesy supernatural show and then a secret relationship that unexpectedly goes public, American Rebecca "Bex" Porter and Nicholas Lyons, young heir to the English throne, are a charming couple without being picture perfect. They make mistakes and trust the wrong people(some of whom are blood relatives) at times and yet, manage to find their way towards each other.
Clearly, Cocks and Morgan did their homework and then some on the lifestyles of the royally connected as many of the details of acceptable regal behavior(including suitable wardrobe choices) are well featured. Also, the harsh toll that massive and truly invasive press coverage/brutal public opinion can take on someone, whether they be to the manor born or average person, is strongly displayed:
The Royal We,overall, is a love story and it's sweetly told, especially in those chapters when Nick and Bex are able to share a private moment together. The chemistry between them is sparkling with shades of true tenderness and desire.
Going into this book, I was hoping to have a bit of a Notting Hill feel to the story and The Royal We does have a good deal of that, with offbeat friends, the tricky nature of dating someone famous and seeking a path to true love despite everything else. Even with the obvious differences, watching Notting Hill and reading The Royal We are an ideal pairing, much like tea and scones:
While it does focus more on the title queen and less on the subplots with the palace staff than the TV show does, we get much more personal insight into Victoria's conflicting inner emotions as she ascends the throne. More importantly, we get to see both sides of the growing bond between the new queen and her first prime minister, Lord Melbourne.
Victoria and her "Lord M" clearly had a connection that ,in another time and place,could have been a deeper romance. However, it was a love that wasn't meant to be and thanks to this companion novel, well worth reliving in print:
As it was my first Poirot book, this introduction to the droll yet stylish detective made a solid impression with me. The experience of meeting such an iconic character in their original literary surroundings,rather than a cinematic counterpart, is one that deserves any reader's full attention and on that score, M. Poirot is a charmingly formidable fellow.
With his dapper mode of dress,fastidious nature and careful eye for detail, Poirot puts his powers of perception on full display here and while I still prefer the homespun keenness of Miss Marple, this was a suspense driven train ride that made every anxious mile a page turning pleasure:
My thanks to Michelle Miller for giving us all a good opportunity to start our reading year off right and I look forward to the next big event in the spring. In the meantime, I will keep up with Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House and Drawing of the Three(which is part of my year long reading challenge there) as well as enjoy other great books that fall into my path.
I also hope to enjoy some of the great movies coming out this year that are based on books(and that does include Black Panther,oh yes!) and will keep my fingers crossed for that switch to the silver screen to not be hopelessly lost in translation: