Book Review: “The Royal We” by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan


Reading / Sunday, March 17th, 2019


I was for sure 4-ish years late reading this fabulous chunk of chick-lit, but better late than never.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan is basically a work of Royal Wedding fan-fiction. If you’re at all familiar with Prince WIlliam and Duchess Kate of England’s backstory, you’ll be able to draw more than a few connections as you read the story of fictional English Prince Nick and American student Bex Porter’s courtship and engagement. I grew up on Meg Cabot’s “Princess Diaries” series, so this kind of story felt like a perfect vacation read. If you’re not into the whole royal thing, though, this 400+ pager will be a real slog.

The story starts when Bex Porter arrives at Oxford University on exchange from Cornell. She immediately falls in step with a group of friends that happens to include the future king of England, Nick. I was actually really impressed by how realistic their college lives felt; the writers really nailed the awkward spider-web of hookups among classmates and the too-late nights eating junk food and watching trash TV that define (or, at least for me) the college experience.

The strengths of this novel were its well-researched and described settings and fantastically well-developed characters. I studied in Bath and Oxford for a while during undergrad, and I’ve visited London a few times. The locations these authors chose to include and describe were actually so developmentally appropriate. They described scenes and situations from Bex and Nick’s college days in Oxford that were so much like the scenes and situations I landed myself in during my study abroad experience. And when Bex was a little older and living in London, she spent time in similar places as I did when I’ve gone back as an adult.

As for the characterization; I really got to know Bex, Nick, and allllllllllllllllll of their friends and family members, of which there were many.  Even little side characters like Gemma, Nick’s ex-girlfriend- has a backstory and some depth to her. My personal favorite was Bea, who at first glance could have been left as a snobby, mean duchess, but who was developed into a somewhat complex character who offered great comic relief.

The plot felt a little slow at moments, but I whipped through the book nonetheless. It took you through fictionalized and embellished versions of situations Prince William and Duchess Kate pushed through, such as their breakup and the media frenzy surrounding their relationship. In The Royal We, Prince Harry becomes Freddie, a party boy with complicated feelings about relationships, and Pippa Middleton becomes Bex’s twin sister, Lacy. I found Lacy pretty dislikable, and I kind of wished that she had a few more redeeming qualities, because Bex really loves her and Bex is the narrator, so I wanted to love Lacy too.

The main downfall of the book is the cliff-hanger ending. When I pick up a romance novel, I expect a neat, tidy, pretty ending. This book didn’t actually have one, which left me a little bit dissatisfied as I finished. That being said, there really was so much to love about this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think anyone who likes to read a bit of fluff while they’re stuck in an airport or sick in bed or whatever.


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