I got my hands on an electronic ARC of one of the most anticipated books of Spring: Red, White & Royal Blue, and wow, I understand the hype. Red White & Royal Blue is American politics meets British Royal Family centered around a relationship between two guys must defeat all the odds to be together.
Alex Claremont-Diaz is the first son of the first female president of the United States and has his eyes on becoming the youngest person in Congress, ever. So he’s hitting the ground hard for his mom’s re-election campaign, and even doing some international events. At one said international event, a royal wedding, things go a little awry when Alex and his sorta royal rival, Prince Henry, get into a slight argument and a $75K cake topples. So…there’s a bit of an international incident and Alex and Henry are forced to hang out a few times and create a “bromance” to avoid the negative attention. But that friendship takes a turn towards reality when they start exchanging late night texts, long phone calls about their life, and find that the other person can understand their experiences as a son of a major leader. Soon…it becomes more than either of them expected, but they’re forced to keep things under wraps to avoid another international incident or worse, an electoral loss in 2020. And what will happen if their secret gets out?
This book takes place in the 2016-2020 presidential year in an alternative universe with no Trump and no reactions to Trump, which I kind of love as someone who works in politics and lives in DC. Ellen Claremont is a Democrat running against a very “trad-con” Republican, kind of a caricature of Republicans honestly, but it didn’t bother me that much as a conservative who knows very few of those candidates really exist on a national scale anymore. But it did make a really nice foil for the events that unfold in the last quarter of the novel. At the same time, there is a solid background of political talk in this novel, perfect for people like me who love the mechanisms of DC but also are weirdly obsessed with the British Royal Family. The British Royal Family is also kind of a knock-off of itself. Henry isn’t necessarily just a gay Prince Harry but maybe what Harry would have been like if he was gay but less of a partier. Either way, it works, and by the end of the book, I was kind of wishing we did have a gay prince in England.
The chapters are a little longer than I like in a book, but the pacing is pretty good. The author takes us through spans of time when Henry and Alex are apart pretty well, gives us lots of emails, and makes it work. It’s a pretty thicc book, from what I can tell, over 400 pages, but I think you’ll love it. I wish I had annotated throughout but there are some great quotes, both about discovering yourself (Alex has a great scene where he tries to understand his bisexuality) as well as quotes about love and just some really funny ones. There’s also a nice ensemble of Secret Service agents, the other first (and second) children, family members, and more. I was a little skeptical at first but I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait for the world to read it!
It comes out on May 14th and honestly, I’m praying that Meaghan Markle gives birth on the same day. How perfect would that be?