When I’m writing a book (or plotting one), I love to ask myself lots of “what if” questions. What if my character quit her job? What if my character was a compulsive liar? What if my character had a secret no one knew about? In American Royals, Katharine McGee asked: What if George Washington had been the first king of America—not the first president? What if America had a Royal family we obsessed over, much like many Americans obsess over the British Royal family? (and yes, I do love the Royal Family) Well, she tells us in American Royals, and it’s a thoroughly enjoyable look at an alternate reality. If you loved the Princess Diaries series (especially PD2: Royal Engagement) or First Daughter or even Gossip Girl, this book will be everything you could possibly want.
Let me sum up the book without giving you any spoilers. Princess Beatrice is the oldest daughter of the Royal family, and she’s set to become the first Queen of America when her father’s reign ends. She is constantly being groomed to take over the country, and the newest task set for her is to find a suitable husband who will become the first King Consort of America when she’s crowned. The pressure of her duties and position are beginning to overwhelm her, and the strong feelings she has developed for a man considered a “commoner” are causing her an even bigger dilemma. Meanwhile, Princess Samantha, or “Sam”, has recently returned from a post-graduation world trip with her brother, Prince Jefferson, and she’s seething with jealousy towards Beatrice. It’s a jealousy that has built up over eighteen years of being the “spare” instead of the “heir”, and has resulted in a strained relationship between Sam and her sister. Sam’s anger and resentment of her sister is only exacerbated when Beatrice begins dating Teddy Eaton, future Duke of Boston (you read that right) because Sam likes Teddy. Sam is best friends with Nina, whose Mom is a member of the King’s staff. The two young women lead very different lives, something that begins to drive a wedge between them when Sam returns to town. Jefferson, known as “Jeff” to those closest to him, broke up with his socialite girlfriend Daphne before his world tour with his sister, but Daphne is determined to get him back. She wants to be a princess one day, and she will do whatever it takes to rekindle their romance. No matter who she hurts or how desperate she appears and no matter how hard she has to work to separate Jeff’s new girlfriend…
The story is told from several different POVs—including Princess Beatrice, Princess Samantha, Samantha’s close friend Nina, and Jeff’s social-climbing ex-girlfriend Daphne. Being able to hear the story from all the different perspectives really adds another level to the story because you experience so many different emotions from each character. As a writer, I love when another writer uses multiple POV’s.
Overall, I would give American Royals a 7/10. My biggest complaint is that the book ends on a cliffhanger (I’m not giving anything away), and I have to wait a full YEAR before we find out what happens next with Beatrice, Sam, Jeff, and all the other characters.
Happy Reading, friends,
*I also recommend listening to the recent Bad on Paper podcast episode where the hosts discuss this book. Warning: the episode is filled with podcasts.*