“The Royal We” by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

The Royal WeFor over a decade now, I’ve been spending my tea breaks with Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, the ladies behind the funny fashion blog Go Fug Yourself. As a self-employed person, I usually don’t have anyone around to chat with, but Heather and Jessica (and the site’s army of commenters) are always there, ready to make me swoon (Cate Blanchett, so beautiful!) or gasp (Kim Kardashian, nooooo!).

Cocks and Morgan have always been fans of the British royal family and their style (or lack thereof), so perhaps it’s not surprising that they’d choose to set their first novel for adults (after a couple of YA outings) in the royal world. The launching point seems to have been a thought experiment: “What if Kate Middleton had been an American commoner instead of a British one?”

The Yank who catches the prince’s eye in this story is the feisty, funny Rebecca; she and Prince Nicholas meet at college, where she’s spending a year abroad, and eventually bond over a shared love of cheesy American TV. You could spend hours mapping the parallels between the fictional story and the real-life one (Nick’s mother is absent, though for quite a different reason than Diana’s disappearance from Prince William’s life; Rebecca’s twin sister, Lacey, has a definite Pippa Middleton vibe, and Nick’s ginger-haired kid brother Freddie is totally Harry), but the main thing that you get in The Royal We that is missing from the real-life Kate & Wills love story is the feelings. What would it be like to fall in love with a crown prince, and realize that his chief priority will always be the country he’s expected to lead someday? How do you deal with the tabloid press that’s ready to pounce if you show the slightest vulnerability? Will the in-laws, including the octogenarian Queen, ever accept you as one of them?

The authors have stuffed the book full of scandals, heartbreak, humor, juicy insider details and, most of all, a cracking good love story. It’s a long book, over 400 pages, perfect for a cross-country plane ride (which is where I read it); but when I reached the last page, I must admit that my reaction was, “Wait, it’s over already?” Not every loose end is tied up, and while the paperback edition coming out this spring promises a “bonus chapter,” this book is dying for a sequel. I hope that along with chronicling the fashion foibles of Hollywood’s elite, Cocks and Morgan are also busy dreaming up Bex and Nick’s next adventures.

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