He’s been able to hide his sexual orientation with the help of his best friend and beard, Lady Cassandra. Sometimes he feels like a coward for not coming out, but he daren’t risk losing the crown. If he did, the succession would fall on his deeply troubled younger sister, Princess Amelia. To protect her, James is willing to live a lie.
While on holiday, he meets Benjamin Dahan—a rugged international reporter with a globe-trotting, unattached life—who catches far more than James's eye. And when Ben is transferred to London, it seems fate may finally be smiling on James.
But what began as a torrid fling grows into something far more intimate and powerful. Soon James will have to decide who he is, what he wants from life and love, and what he’s willing to sacrifice for the truth...
Comment: While in an online conversation with someone, I was told about this book and what a great story it was. I don't mind royal themed books but usually the HEAs aren't done in the ways I would expect do I also don't look for them.
I was willing to try this one, though, because it featured two men.
In this book we have James, the prince of Wales as a gay man living in a lie not only to met expectations and suppositions about royal lines but mainly because he couldn't come out, eventually lose the possibility to lose the crown to his younger sister, who wouldn't be able to take on the kingdom and stay sane.
These situations weight in on James but he focuses on his duty and the things he accomplishes to make it bearable despite past disappointments. This changes, however, the day he meets Ben in one of his rare holiday escapes. Things end up stressful between them but James meets Ben again at a change encounter in a formal dinner event and their relationship rekindles. But with so many issues to deal with, can James and Ben find common ground?
This story is clearly marketed as an alternative reality to the known lives of British royalty and in this world, James, as the crown prince, is gay and hiding his feelings because of duty, which includes a best friend who helped him give the public the idea of a lengthy relationship. But James isn't happy about the situation, only feels he can't have options nor would he be able to come out publicly due to other problems and not his own self.
I actually liked the story, this was the first time I've read something by the author and I liked the writing style. The words flow easily and I think the author was competent in conveying the characters' feelings and especially James' need to find happiness while still keeping up with appearances. I can only guess how hard it is for famous people who just want to have their privates lives like that but are constantly pressured to be on the spotlight. (not the ones who pretend to be annoyed but really love the attention)
I think the author chose interesting scenes to let us know about these tings and I liked I never got the feeling there could be other things to focus on.
James is a fascinating character, he has flaws of course but his position in life can be understandably difficult when it comes to the daily things most people take for granted, like privacy. I can also accept the fact his choices wouldn't be immediately able to be different no matter how easy it is to think them.
Ben was a bit more difficult to read but I also think it was a bit on purpose. He has had some issues in his past that were emotionally complicated but I liked how he still read as a compassionate man, how he could see James' side of things even if he feels he wanted more or less, depending on his moods. Part of the fun of seeing their relationship develop is precisely the doubts and the almost sensation they are falling in love without thinking that until it gets to the point if feels inevitable, as if it's something meant to be.
There are scenes that seem to be a bit more unlikely to believe in but all's fair in fiction, I'd say, if it follows minimal reason. There is more to this story than just the romance, even if that can be seen as the best part, of course. I liked how the secondary characters feel well done, especially James' interactions with his sister and best friend. I can imagine these details aren't there just to fill up space and they will be important characters in the sequel as well.
I liked the angst in this book. It's not exaggerated nor is is used just to move the plot forward.
For instance, I liked the author thought about the elements included in the story and gave them meaning. I'm curious to see how the characters' decisions n this book will have a follow up in the next one. Thinking from a unique fairytale POV, I do hope things progress on a certain way but I can already imagine the unsolved issues which felt like the things I'd change in this book being key in the next and I only hope the author solves them well.
Can't wait to read it next month. As for this, a great read.
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