Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. New York: Wednesday Books, 2019, 432 pages

A debut novel that is smart, romantic, and completely absorbing.red white and blue by casey mcquiston

America’s golden boy is Alex Caremont-Diaz, First Son of the United States. He’s good-looking, smart, and determined to be elected to Congress by the age of 30. Despite what the tabloids claim, Alex spends little time chasing women and is instead focusing on helping his mother win re-election.

What the media does correctly report is a confrontation with nemesis Prince Henry of England that leads to a toppled wedding cake at the biggest social event of the year. In order to improve diplomatic relations, Alex and Henry stage a bromance. A few staged photo-ops later, the fake friendship becomes real as they both begin to see the person behind their public personas. The relationship continues to evolve and after an unexpected kiss, they are soon grabbing at every semi-plausible excuse to spend time together.

Their burgeoning relationship is kept a secret at the risk of upending the politics of two nations, not to mention influencing the upcoming election. They are forced to quickly decide the importance of their relationship. Is this forever? What are they willing to sacrifice? How do they want history to remember them?

The story’s premise is a fantasy. Divorced Texan Democrat became the first female president in the 2016 election and is a strong contender for re-election. However, Alex and Henry’s relationship read so real in this novel. Taking away their place in the world, they are like others experiencing that heady first love. Henry and Alex are writing love letters, sharing their daily life, and planning on how to break the news with their families. The doubts, fears, and joys are all there, only magnified due to their positions.

This charming romance brings a welcome dose of freshness to the genre. Far from being a cheesy fairy tale, a rich and meaningful story has been crafted by McQuiston. The reader will be caught in a cycle of swooning, laughing, and crying.

Dig into other modern royal read-alikes such as The Royal We by Heather Cocks and the Reluctant Royals series by Alyssa Cole.

Amanda Gramley is the Adult Programming Coordinator with the Alamance County Public Libraries.  Contact her at agramley@alamancelibraries.org.