Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, LGBTQ
Also by this author:
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: My shelves
Original cover edition of ASIN B07J4LPZRN here.
A big-hearted romantic comedy in which the First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends...
First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.
The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.
As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?
I really cannot believe I put reading this off for so long! IT WAS SO GOOD. AHHHHH. All my friends knew that I was finally read this one because I carried it with me for five days, highlighter hooked on the back. I read the majority of the book one night (stayed up until 3:30 a.m. and I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer!) and then held off on finishing it for four days because I didn’t want it to end. Turns out I only had 20 pages left, so I sat down and finished it on that last day, with heart eyes.
This book… oh my lord. I don’t really want to tell you everything that it was about, because I don’t want to spoil! I’ll try my best. It was just… it was so much more than I expected. It was snappy, it was funny, it was educated, (at one point, the boys were exchanging emails and signing them with famous historical letters. UM YES!) and it was beautifully romantic.
It was also written like New Adult book trying to moonlight as a YA – it wasn’t nearly as graphic, but that felt intentional, so it could be more largely marketed to the masses. I wish it was solidly New Adult, then it would have been spicer 🥰
If I’d actually sat down (before I read the book) and story-boarded the major plot points, I probably could have gotten most of it right. It wasn’t super twisty and “OHMYGODIDIDN’TSEETHATCOMING,” and largely predictable (if you’d tried), but I didn’t care. I was hardly thinking about what was coming next because I was completely enraptured in what was happening then! And with the characters! I especially loved the representation of family/friendship in this one, beyond just the two of them. We got to see a lot of their lives outside the romance, which made the moments together all the sweeter.
“Thinking about history makes me wonder how I’ll fit into it one day, I guess. And you too. I kinda wish people still wrote like that. History, huh? Bet we could make some.”
I’m giving the basic premise here: Boy-meets-Boy. Except the boys have known each other for years and weren’t friendly. Alex was the son of the US President (the first female, which was awesome to read about. Shoutout to her parenting PowerPoints. Alex was nicer about it than I probably would have been), and Henry was a Prince of England. Being the same age and of similar political standing, the media was constantly pitting them against each other, and so Alex did not like Henry. But when they got embroiled in a media scandal (and sadly not of the sexy variety – we’re not there yet!), they’re forced to portray a fake friendship.
It’s really sad when you have to get to know your nemesis, isn’t it? It’s a different kind of fake-relationship than we’re used to in Romancelandia, but exploring that aspect alongside a forbidden romance and a friends-to-lovers romance story with a hate-to-love friendship in the beginning… I LOVED IT.
This book just… shocked me. I laughed more than I breathed, was grinning the whole time, was totally involved in Alex’s character development (especially politically), and highlighted almost the whole damn book. It’s messy, it’s not beautiful and totally unplanned: I don’t highlight books! But I couldn’t help it. Those two boys were glorious together. I love the way that they communicate with each other! Alex never lets Henry pull away, and makes them talk about whatever is happening. So much respect for my President(‘s son)!
It was one of the best instances of believability I’ve seen of a courtship and a romance and two people falling in love and even the friendship! I loved how much these two guys were friends first and in love second. The progression was there and oh my god, I really can’t articulate how much I was here 👏🏻 for 👏🏻 it 👏🏻 I’m not sure how on point the England-perspective was, but truth be told, I don’t care. I wasn’t there for anything else, I was there for the adorable, hilarious, forbidden tryst 🔥🔥
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Have you read RW&RB? What did you think? Do you have any similar recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!