The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It must be hard to be Pippa Middleton. OK, yes, on the plus side, the world’s press has declared her “the rear of the year,” which will be something to look back fondly on once time and gravity have made their mark. But that same press constantly follows her around, stalking her on her way to work, to dinner, to a night out with friends, analyzing her fashion and romantic choices, and finding them both wanting.
And why? Pippa hasn’t particularly done anything of note to attract the press. She’s an attractive daughter of wealthy parents, but there are plenty of those. What’s brought Pippa to their attention is her sister, or more specifically, her sister’s husband. And while Duchess Kate has ten times the paparazzi and complications in her life, she also gets the staff, the police protection and, you know, *the crown.* And more importantly, she’s the one who chose this. Pippa just got dragged along.
While Pippa seems to have handled the transition with only a few PR kerfuffles, her analog in Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks’ “The Royal We” doesn’t fare quite so well.
The book is narrated by her twin, Rebecca ”Bex” Porter, an American taking a semester abroad at Oxford, who ends up rooming down the hall from Britain’s most eligible future king. The story is told in flashback from what we assume is Bex’ wedding night, so I went into this thinking I knew exactly what it would hold. But Cocks and Morgan take this beyond the expected frothy chick-lit. Since we generally know where things are heading, we’re focused not so much on what will happen, but why did this happen, and how does everyone feel about it. We’re introduced to Prince Nick and his brother Freddie, Nick’s university friends, along with Bex’ twin Lacey, the Pippa stand in. All of these characters are clearly based on real-life counterparts (down to Freddie’s ginger hair and playboy ways), with plenty of fun references thrown in for fans of Cocks and Morgan’s fashion blog.
My only quibble is that the authors keep telling me how everyone is feeling without showing it very much. Bex tells us that they’re hanging out and getting close, but we don’t actually get to see very much of it. So when he makes a passionate declaration of his love, it feels like it comes out of nowhere. Even after their relationship has begun, we just hear Bex talk about how much they’re in love, but most of the scenes we actually get to see are of them fighting or him treating her badly, so it’s a little hard to believe in this fairy-tale romance. I also had a hard time with how Lacey was treated – she’s described in the first third of the book as the perfect twin, hard-working and driven, so her sudden change of character once she actually appears is a bit jarring.
But those were really minor problems in terms of how much I enjoyed this book. The story is completely compelling and enjoyable, and left me hoping that Cocks and Morgan will follow-up on the love story – they’ve got to produce and heir don’t they?~Ms Schoen
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