There are some books that feel perfect, that shine with the force and beauty of Cary Grant’s smile, and Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston is one of them. Reduced to its basics, it’s a m/m romance between the FSOTUS (First Son of the United States) and a British prince, but it’s much more than that. It’s one of the most romantic love stories that I’ve ever read, and it’s got a place in my heart and top 100 Books list forever.
Alex Claremont-Diaz has always hated Prince Henry. Henry is stuffy and stilted, fake and boring, at least in Alex’s eyes. He’s a “fairy-tale prince,” and that’s something Alex doesn’t relate to, even though Alex himself “is the golden boy of the United States.”
The antagonism between them erupts at a royal wedding and before they know it, a wedding cake is ruined and they’re forced to pretend that they’re actually friends instead of bitter enemies. Proximity reveals that there are other emotions at play between them, and what follows is fantastically sexy, so sensual, sweet, and exhilarating that I couldn’t wait to read the next chapter.
But, of course, we’re still talking about a m/m romance between a First Son and a British royal in line to the throne, so we know that the HEA will not be easily granted—even if it is absolutely glorious when it arrives.
Part of the difficulty is that Alex has never identified as anything as other than straight; he’s also half-Mexican and First Son of the United States, factors which produce their own pressures, and his mother is running for her second term. And Henry’s always had to hide who he is. He’s gotten little family support, and he can’t conceive of a way for him to be both British prince in line for the throne and a gay man in a publicly committed relationship.
At no point did I forget the many obstacles in the way. But this book is ultimately about hope, optimism, and living an “honest” existence. It’s about choosing something better, whether that’s a presidential candidate or a life where you can be with the person you love, and those things kept shining through, even when the future between Alex and Henry seemed most uncertain.
The things that Alex and Henry notice about each other; the words they write; their first fumbling revelations to the other. It’s all so beautiful, and every word felt real to me, every step they made toward each other felt like a readerly wish I had made had been granted.
Red, White & Royal Blue is so, so special.
Q: What's your favorite royal romance? This one is mine, hands down, forever and ever, kthanksbye. In real life, it's Harry and Meghan.
Give me that HEA, please.
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