American Royals by Katharine McGee (448 pages)
American Royals Imagines America with a Beloved Monarchy
Instead of becoming America’s first president, General George Washington was its first king. Now, centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the American throne, as do monarchies the world over. American Royals centers on two fictional ancestors of Washington—Princess Beatrice, next in line for the throne, and Princess Samantha, her younger sister. Their brother Prince Jefferson is third in line for the throne and has two girls vying for his heart, Nina and Daphne. The lives of these four young women—Princess Beatrice, Princess Samantha, Nina, and Daphne—weave around each other as the story progresses, like a well-choreographed court dance.
Romance is the Heart of this Royal Drama
With one of the more intriguing story concepts I’ve read this year, American Royals started strong. I needed to know what kind of trouble Washington’s descendants were getting into while reigning from their palace on the Potomac River. Princess Beatrice fills her role as dutiful Queen-to-be with poise but questions if she can still be Beatrice when she’ll be Queen. Her younger sister, Samantha, is the classic “spare”—too mischievous for her own good. Samantha’s friend, Nina, hasn’t seen Prince Jefferson since she kissed him at their high school graduation party months earlier. Now she studies at the nearby King’s College and works shelving books at the campus library. Lastly, there’s Daphne, the Prince’s former girlfriend who’s determined to make him hers once again—by any means necessary.
Unfortunately, I was about halfway through the book when I realized I was struggling with the cast of characters. Four main characters, each with their own point-of-view, is a lot to balance. I felt like I wasn’t getting enough time with each of them, and therefore some emotional moments fell flat. However, American Royals succeeded at romance. Beatrice, Samantha, Nina, and Daphne each had a strong romantic storyline that I devoured. (Seriously, so many tropes!) As this is the first in a planned series, the book ended with a powerful cliffhanger. With more to come, I have hope that the sequel will amp up the romance even more while giving us more time with each of the four leading women.
The Bottom Line: 3.5/5 Brookie Stars
While the romantic drama kept me reading, the characters weren’t as fleshed-out as I hoped. However, the story is a solid beginning and with at least one sequel to come, offers the promise of more romance and intrigue. Grab this one if you love royal drama, forbidden romance, and stepping into the lives of those in power.
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Jamie Mitchell is a writer, library assistant, former bookseller, and all-around lover of the written word. She’s currently working on her fifth novel, and if you’re wondering where the other four are, they’re safe on her laptop and in need of rewriting. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, and enjoys traveling, bookstagramming and experimenting with gluten-free flours.
Favourite book: Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Favourite brunch spot: 1823 Bakehouse
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