The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
Published: 07.04.2015 by Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Adult
Rating: 3/5 stars
Synopsis: American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face. Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become. Which is how she gets into trouble.
I picked this book up for several reasons. First, it was a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee in 2015 in the fiction category. You may (or may not, that’s okay) know that I’m participating in the Goodreads Awards Challenge, in which I try to read more of the nominees/winners. Second, it’s supposed to be a fairy tale for adults. The royal romance we’ve all dreamed of when we were little. Okay, maybe not all but you know what I mean. I have to admit that I was kind of disappointed with this one.
So the story starts when Bex goes to Oxford for a year during her student exchange. She’s always loved art and drawing, and the historical buildings of Oxford call to her. Her roommate is good friends with Nick (better known as Prince Nicholas), so she gets adopted into their friend group. Then it spans over years, showing the relationship between Bex and Nick, but also the ties with all the friends.
The part I loved most of the book was Bex’s time at Oxford University. Unfortunately, that part wasn’t all that long. I loved her carefree student life, wanting to get to know herself without the presence of her twin sister, creating friendships and a romantic relationship. I really enjoyed the friendship she created with Nick, because it seemed like an honest and open friendship. I love those best friends to more relationships.
However, I was less than impressed with the rest of the story line. First of all, I could hardly keep up with how much time had passed. At one point, I thought it had been months but apparently it was 4 years. 4 years! It takes these random jumps, and I couldn’t follow at all.
Second, literally 50-75% of this story is SO DEPRESSING. I know it’s supposed to be an adult fairy tale, and thus include more realistic problems. But if you have THIS many big problems in your relationship, maybe you shouldn’t be together? I’m not saying a couple can’t have some problems. But these ones are just so major. I’ll talk about it later though.
I also wasn’t that into the ending of the story, because I felt like it was quite an open one. I invested all this time into this book, the least you could do is tell me what happens on the big day with the whole nation watching!
So yeah, I liked the beginning of this book far more than the middle and ending. I wasn’t completely immersed in it, probably because the pacing didn’t really agree with me. To be honest, I feel like this book is far too long. It’s about 450 pages…
Let’s start with Bex, shall we? At first, I really loved her. She was interesting, fun and kind. She loved her twin sister, but wanted to take some time for herself. She was down to earth, and real. She spent time watching a guilty-pleasure TV show in her PJs eating her favorite unhealthy snack. Let’s be real, that’s me. So the Bex at uni, I really admired and adored. I had a lot of fun reading from her perspective.
I also really enjoyed the friendship she built up with Nick. They truly became friends first, spending time together. They both got addicted to the same TV show, so they watched it together as soon as they could, just relaxing. This part of the romance I really enjoyed reading about.
However, I did NOT like Bex as she got older. In my opinion, she completely lost herself to Nick. I couldn’t recognize the fun, headstrong girl who didn’t take shit from anyone anymore. Instead, she became the girl who moved somewhere and took a job she didn’t want so she could be close to a guy. She became the girl who was hidden under a blanket in a car so no one would see her with him. She became the girl who never went outside with her boyfriend, because he was afraid she’d be seen. She became the girl who compromised all of her ideals and beliefs. She became someone who did as she was told, always. Who judged other people for the things she wishes she could do. I just hated who she had become. Take a look at yourself girl, this is not you. Would you even recognize yourself?
The same thing goes for Nick. I liked his character at university. As he got older, he became a mini version of the father he disliked so much. He always snapped at Bex. Always hid her. Never actually talked about something. This is not a relationship, people! I also think that he often acted like an asshole. I’m sorry, but the wedding-birthday scene? Hell no.
I feel like all the problems in this book could have easily been solved if these people ever actually talked to each other. Do you feel unhappy with your relationship? Say something! People aren’t mind readers. This is my most hated trope in romance. That the characters don’t communicate which creates a big problem they have to overcome.
There are many interesting side characters, though many of them are also assholes. My feelings on a lot of people changed throughout the book though, so it’s impressive of the authors to be able to create these characters that change so profoundly over the years.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed by this book. I wasn’t a fan of the pacing, or the second part of the book. To be honest, I think that if someone treats you like this, you should walk away. I did give it 3 stars because I loved the first part of the book.