Author: Katharine McGee
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fiction, Alternate History
What’s it About: Beatrice returns from the house her family has been isolated in since the death of her father, the King, and instead of being handed the Royal duties that she should be doing, the Lord Chamberlain and the Queen agree that Beatrice should be focusing on the wedding, getting married to Theodore as soon as possible so that she can be accepted.
Samantha, on the other hand, comes up with a plan to get Theodore jealous when she realizes that Beatrice is going through with the wedding, and ends up dating Marshall, the future Duke of Orange, making a splash on the front news.
Daphne in the meantime orders Ethan to start spending time with Nina in order to keep Nina away from Jeffery, so that she can have a chance to win him back. Nina does spend time with Ethan and slowly realizes that she’s falling in love with him, though neither of them tell Jeff about their relationship until Daphne tells the news reporter to call Jeff for a comment, and he is crestfallen about it. He distances himself from Nina and Ethan, and as a result has no one to lean on, which is exactly what Daphne wanted. Daphne and Himari also stop being friends when Himari realizes that it was Daphne who put the pills into her drink the night that she ended up in a coma at the party of the twins. In order to avoid Himari telling Jeff anything, Daphne blackmails Beatrice into giving Himari’s parents the ambassadorship to Japan, by telling Beatrice that she knows about how she loved someone else besides Teddy. Beatrice agrees, but only allowing Daphne to hold this over her head once.
As time goes on, Beatrice struggles with inviting Connor to her wedding, and hides the invitation in a hidden drawer, where Samantha finds it and mails it on her behalf, thinking that it would bring some sense to Beatrice if she were to realize that she wasn’t really in love with Theodore. Sam now is the next in line for the throne and as a result has to go through lessons with the Lord Chamberlain, but he has no patience for her, so she asks Daphne for help and realizes that Daphne is not as bad as she had originally thought to be. Sam also has to keep up the relationship with Marshall in order to benefit the Royal family at least until after Beatrice’s wedding.
For months, Beatrice’s workload as a Royal has been very light, and many of the daily briefings given to her started out with very easy things, while the harder items were at the bottom, so she learned to flip the stack of papers and read from the back to the front. She gets closer to Teddy as they spend time together, including getting a dog, and she also buys his castle as a gift to him so that the family wouldn’t have to face the shame of being kicked out of their homes. She realizes that she is falling in love with Teddy, and this comes through in their interactions, which Sam sees during an event, making her realize that she wasn’t really in love with Teddy. Beatrice finds herself in an unusual situation because usually the reigning monarch is invited by Congress for the closing session–opening and closing the congress is a symbolic job-but this time around she hasn’t received an invitation, so to find what’s the matter, Beatrice dresses up and heads to the Congress.
Arriving at the floor, she finds the Lord Chamberlain closing the session on her behalf. He acts like he is better than her, more deserving of the position, and tells her that the constitution says some things that Beatrice knows are wrong but does not fight him. He also makes it clear that he doesn’t believe that she is fit to lead as a single woman, but rather needs to be married off in order to be the queen that people need and will accept. Samantha and Beatrice make up again, and Sam realizes that she has been in love with Marshall, so during the rehearsal, she professes her feelings for Marshall and they decide to be together for real.
The day of the wedding, Sam runs into Teddy outside and they talk, where he kisses her in the forehead, a symbol of trust and friendship. They both realize that they are better off as friends. Marshall sees this and is enraged, realizing that the man that Sam wanted to make jealous was the future husband of her sister. As Sam chases Marshall through the halls of the castle, she sees Connor show up at Beatrice’s door, and realizes that there is one thing that she can do, so she runs off.
When Beatrice sees Connor, her heart freezes, and they have a conversation, talking about their past, and their present. Beatrice makes it clear that she’s in love with Teddy, and just then the moment is interrupted by alarms going off and security doors sliding into place to lock the castle down. It is then that Connor tries to protect her, and she realizes that even though he will always have a piece of her and she of him, he will always be the one whose first instinct will be to protect her, not to be by her side. They say their good-byes, and Beatrice feels like she’s grown from a girl to a woman in those moments. When the security sweep is done, the Lord Chamberlain brings Sam (who set the alarms off for her sister’s sake) to Beatrice, and tries to tell Beatrice what kind of punishment she should dole out to her sister. Beatrice pulls rank on the Lord Chamberlain, tells him that the wedding is called off until further notice, and that he is fired. The Lord Chamberlain says some stuff about her not ever being good enough for a Queen and that he’s better than all of them. Beatrice and Sam then share a moment where Sam reveals that she was the one that sent the letter to Connor and when she saw them together, she knew that they needed time.
In the meantime, in the ballroom where the ceremony is being held, as the security panels shut off the room from the rest of the castle, Daphne runs to Ethan and professes her love to him. He tells her that he used to love her and that he’s waited for her many years, hoping against hope that she’ll come to her senses and leave Jeff for him. But no longer–he’s in love with Nina, and she’s too late-he’s done waiting for her. As the security panels slide back out of the room, Nina finds a room, and it turns out that Daphne is in there. Daphne blocks Nina’s exit to the door, and tells her that she was the one that sent Ethan over to Nina to keep her away from Jeff, and that Ethan doesn’t love her. Nina realizes that Daphne is in love with Ethan, and that she’s a manipulative person, after which she tells her “good luck” and that she may get what she wants, which is being a princess, but that she’s going to be all alone with no one to celebrate. Daphne shrugs it off.
As Nina leaves the castle, Ethan finds her, and he admits to everything that Daphne told her, except telling Nina that he does love her. Nina doesn’t say no to the relationship, but asks for time. In the meantime, Sam jumps into a car with Marshall, and while driving crazily on the streets (she didn’t pass her license), she admits her feelings for him and tells him what she thought was with Teddy wasn’t real. They make up and commit to their relationship. Sam later visits Nina and they plan out a road trip together. Beatrice on the other hand tells Teddy the truth–she does want to get married to him, but wants it to be on their terms, not what the courts or congress believe is appropriate. She knows that in order for the monarchy to survive, they need to bring it up to current times, and it’s going to start with her and Sam. In the meantime, Jeff shows up to Daphne’s home, and tells her that he loves her and wants to be with her, giving her his ring. As Nina predicted–Daphne got everything that she wanted, but she’s all alone, unable to call Ethan who is the only person that Daphne thought she could trust.
My Verdict: Holy cannoli, I am not sure how to begin to unpack all this. I have a huge problem with this book–not so much with the alternate historical fiction aspect in that the United States has a Monarchy, but really with the lack of communication between everyone here.
Like does anyone talk with anyone here? Sam doesn’t know anything about Daphne’s scheming from Nina. Jeff doesn’t talk to Ethan about the relationship with Nina. Sam and Beatrice don’t talk about anything at all. Jeff and Sam don’t discuss the whole Nina, Jeff & Ethan situation. Really? Firstly, I don’t think that it’s possible for twins to not talk at all, especially when they’re close to each other. Secondly, if you’re best friends, you talk to them. You don’t just shut them out for not telling you about a relationship or don’t go for days without talking to them. I feel like this whole Daphne-being-a-manipulative-b*h could be sorted out by just talking to each other.
And that’s the thing with this book that I absolutely could not stand–Daphne got exactly what she wanted by a series of weird coincidences wherein no one talks to each other. I know that books use a lot of plot devices to move the plot, which includes coincidences, but for the love of all things in literature, this is just not how you do it. It’s the same “coincidence” over and over again resulting in how she gets up to where she gets, which makes me think that the author is doing this on purpose to make sure that Jeff and Daphne end up together. The problem is that Jeff and Daphne don’t work together well at all–it’s that obvious that they’re not meant to be–and it’s like the author is trying to put together two puzzle pieces that don’t fit, so she forces them together and breaks them.
On the other hand, Beatrice finally tells the Lord Chamberlain to go to hell. Took her damn long enough! I swear if only Sam had known that the Lord Chamberlain had not given Beatrice the full schedule of events that Beatrice was supposed to have in order to do her duties as a queen, Sam would have concocted a plan to reveal how vile he is. Because he really is evil–trying to take advantage of Beatrice’s insecurity as the first Queen of the United States, and isolation from her family to almost usurp her power. I feel like the Lord Chamberlain is part of the groups who hate the monarchy and want it gone.
This book was irritating as hell, and honestly, I stopped reading it midway through for some time because of this weird lack of communication between people. So far the author hasn’t stated that there will be a third one, and I would 100% be okay with not ever having another book after this mishap. But if she wishes to make a third one, she needs to remedy this ASAP.
Don’t recommend this book.