Contemporary, LGBT, New Adult, Romance

Review: Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

REDWHITEANDROYALBLUEA big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him. 

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

5 stars

Romance | MM Romance | New Adult | Contemporary

So what sends my heart in a tizzy? Oh you know, a deliciously adorable M/M Romance. This was such an amazing gift from my friend who knows absolutely, without a doubt what my favorite genre us, and man oh man, this novel delivered in every way. Everything from the chuckling banter, the romance – oh my lanta did I love these characters, Alex and Henry, they were sublime characters! 

Oh my Alex… he was a charismatic dick and I loved every minute of it. He had this very overly self confidence that simply radiated throughout the majority of the novel. I cannot get over how he treats everyone around him. It spoke volumes with how absolutely lonely Alex truly is, even when he was with Nora and June, he was just simply needed someone to notice him, all of him. I think this is really why Henry pushed his buttons so much at the beginning, and when their friendship hit this point, Alex was dependent so much on their interactions. It was such an eye-opener for his character dynamic. At many points his character comes across very conceded, self centered and really he is just troubled soul, but as I really started to understand his character’s struggles it was apparent that it was more of a safety mechanism for himself. Keeping everyone, including his two besties at arms length. 

And since Alex’s character growth depended so much on Henry, lets chat about this phenomenal character, because I absolutely loved him. I know, after bragging about how much I enjoyed Alex, how could I possibly have more room for Henry? Well I do. I really loved his character, he had such an amazingly fun stand-off personality at the start. I wasn’t sure if he truly liked anyone for that matter, he was just so closed off and this really broadcasted how he was internally. He was a gay prince with feelings and aspersions yet he was a prince nonetheless and one without (in his mind) no other options to adapt and conform. It was hard to watch him struggle with his feelings, his true desires verses his duty just ripped me to shreds – my heart literally weeped for him.

Henry and Alex had one of the most refreshing romances I have had the pleasure of reading. I loved their development. What I loved most about their relationship was the communication that evolved between them especially prior to jump starting any romance. Alex really believed Henry was becoming his best friend, and honestly I think they were (are…), though Henry admits later to have always had been attracted to Alex. There was a sweetness, almost innocent build to their romance, Alex being the naive character in the mix was definitely super adorable. Bottom line, I was not expecting to see Henry make the first move on Alex. I loved their sexual connection as well, having the ability in indulging in one another in both emotional, mental and physical exploring was delicious. Their passion was absolutely drool worthy, when they finally made the plunge, I was melting I saw fireworks.

Can I also admit how much I LOVED their communication? I said it once before, I say it again – it was adorable. I am a sucker for email or text messaging within books and this was perfection. I loved their banter. It was flirtatious, fun and just downright swoon worthy. Especially after that New Years kiss.

While I am chatting up their sexual chemistry, whoah, there was a bit of a base issue that really shined beautifully for these characters. Alex was struggling with understanding his newly discovered attraction, being unsure if he was gay or bisexual, why put a label and really has this always been there in the shadows? Why now? It wasn’t like an all powerful deep realization, but once Alex really looked at himself and his reactions towards Henry he really came to understand that just maybe he had always felt he could be attracted to both men and women. 

This is part hinders and evolves Henry’s struggles as well. Alex had a more accepting reactions, Henry really struggles with his feelings verses his duty, which yes I mentioned it earlier, but I wanted devolve it more. In his mind he cannot appease both aspects of his life. From the moment of him admitting his attraction towards Alex, the kiss, the conversations, he ultimately struggles with himself a great deal, it tears me apart. What I absolutely cannot get over, literally bringing me to tears is how Alex brings Henry the strength to be himself, which is surprising. I mentioned before, Henry brought out this powerful realization of Alex’s personality, but in turn Alex really brought out the best in Henry. I was not expecting this from Alex in the least bit. They really changed once another, they wanted to be the others person, their go-to guy; first and foremost they were really best friends and once they went into their romantic entanglement, they had the other right there constantly supporting. 

Lastly, and surprisingly, I cannot get over the sisterly/brotherly best friendship between June and Alex, especially adding in Nora for the trio. Nora and June with Alex was beyond perfection. It was refreshing to finally see the best friend triangle actually benefit the growth of the novel. For other characters, it took a bit to understand their actually dynamic because honestly, every character was flirting with plot twists, the politics, the tricks, everything – but ultimately it was satisfying because of how every supporting character played on the emotions of Alex and Henry – perfection.

Bottom line, if you haven’t noticed already, Red, White & Royal Blue was probably one of my top reads of 2019, that is for sure. I cannot, and will not get over Alex and Henry’s romance, it was such a fun, entertaining slow burn. Everything about their innocence, naive feelings and views, down to their chemistry, everything was absolute perfection. If you like M/M Romance, I highly recommend this novel, it will make you swoon high in the sky and crying on your knees. Just beautiful. I look forward to see what else comes from Casey, because you bet your bottom dollar I will get it. 

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