Red, White & Royal Blue meets Boyfriend Material in this fluffy, sweet slow-burn MM romance between Britain’s first openly gay Prime Minister and the klutzy, adorkable and clueless American who unexpectedly becomes heir to the British throne.
Callum is a sweet, but rather clumsy and clueless, supposedly straight guy who’s trying to figure his life out after having dropped out of university to work for an insurance call center. His dating life is a bit of a disaster as well, and he’s still mourning his mom. Said mom, who had a brief marriage with the fourth British prince, but who left Britain after the divorce with her son to do everything in her power to keep Callum away from the watchful eye of the British press. Being the eleventh in the succession order, it’s not like he’ll ever play any big role in the British monarchy anyway. Not until his misbehaving relatives are charged with a criminal offense and Callum suddenly leaps from obscurity to the new Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne.
Oliver Hartwell is the divorced Prime Minister who takes pity on the clumsy and awkward prince who is so clearly out of his element. But soon the innocent support messages evolve into so much more and become the highlight of Oliver’s day, together with feelings for the prince that may no longer be of the purely platonic kind…
Soon they both realize that they might have something more than friendship going on, and Callum that he’s not as straight as he thought he was… which might explain his previous unsuccessful dating life.
Jax Calder is one of my favorite authors (I absolutely love her books The Other Brother and Attractive Forces) a lot because of her relatable, lovable and wonderful characters who always are as far away from stereotype cliches as you can come. And just like in her other books, I immediately rooted for Oliver, who had so much depth and raw emotions. I could truly feel his pain after having being betrayed by his ex-husband, his loneliness, his childhood trauma and feeling of being rejected by his addicted mother. I loved the parts of the story that were told from his POV and how they let us see how his feelings for Callum develop. It was so wholesome.
But, surprisingly for a Jax Calder book, the other characters fell a bit flat for me. The Queen felt very vague and more of a projection than a character that added to the story, and I never fully rooted for Callum. I can’t really explain why, but there was something about his clumsiness yet smartness and knowledge of everything that made him feel artificial and more of a construct than a real person. I also would have liked to have more focus on his bisexual awakening, which is usually one of my favorite tropes. But here it felt rushed and sadly not explored to its full potential. It was like Callum just accepted it without even mulling it over. I would have loved to see him dissect it all more and at least be a bit nervous about being with a man for the first time.
So even though I truly wished for Oliver to be happy and get to be with his love, I found it a bit hard to be fully invested in his Callum’s romance.
There were also some parts of the story that were just too unbelievable or silly. I won’t go into details, but there was a murder plot that just felt off and the whole part of Callum not being recognized as part of the royal family by anyone before he moved up the succession order felt a bit too far-fetched.
But all in all, a sweet, cute and fluffy romcom, with a lot of hilarious moments, fun facts and an amazing gay Prime Minister to root for.
Thank you to BookSirens for the free ARC of the book, which I have voluntarily reviewed.
3.5 stars rounding up to 4
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abby Kaitz Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alice Winn Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira Amanda Woody A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Ban Gilmartin Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cait Nary Cale Dietrich Cara Dee Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare Cat Sebastian C.F. White C.G. Drews Charlie Adhara Charli Meadows Chasten Buttigieg Chris Bedell Christina Lauren Christina Lee Ciara Smyth Claerie Kavanaugh Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Courtney Kae Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Dallas Smith Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton D.N. Bryn Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E.L. Massey E. Lockhart Emery Lee Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens F.T. Lukens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hannah Grace Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving H.S. Valley Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacob Gelman Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kathy Anderson K.A. Tucker KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Lauren Shippen Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Lex Croucher Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr M.A. Wardell Melanie Munton Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nathaniel Shea Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Nyla K. Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rachel Reid Racquel Marie Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Taylor Jenkins Reid Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Tucker Shaw Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez