Rating: 5 stars out of 5
A 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?
It was through another book recommendation that allowed me to find the perfect romance story and what I regard as an audio treasure,Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and Ramón de Ocampo (Narrator). The only thing that could have made this even more splendid? Finding out that the author,Casey McQuiston, had an entire back library to stories to dive into. Alas, this is the author’s only published work. But it’s such a gift that I immediately went out and also bought the ebook too. Perhaps I’ll even see about a trifecta if a paperback version is available. That’s how over the moon I am about this story.
I dunno. I think that cover ought to glow or something just to give off a hint as to what awaits readers inside. It wouldn’t be amiss as I feel as though Casey McQuiston has written the perfect contemporary romance story and Ramón de Ocampo has, in every way possible, given voice to it.
It’s her incredibly moving story, a straightforward narrative of two young men and their complicated path towards a relationship and love, but the actual novel format, which helps elevate the story into something that elevates it, is interspersed with texts and emails, both funny and poignant, sometimes both, with the odd late hour phone call thrown in for good measure. Alex and Henry use everything from emojis to moving literary quotes to relate moods and send deep love (as the relationship progresses). And the structure immediately connects the reader into the “now” of the moment and the heart of whatever both men are feeling, alone and with each other.
The story works from the beginning to introduce us to these characters and yes, the entire cast of this story, all of whom are finely crafted, multilayered, and so memorable that I’m smiling now just thinking about them all. On both sides of the Atlantic. Because while this tale is all about the romance and relationship of US first son Alex Claremont-Diaz and HRH Prince Henry of Wales, it’s also about the people who support them (their sisters and friends like June, Nora and Pez, the people who protect them, and even parents like the Senator and the President and more). It’s also about service to one’s country, and about hope, and making the world a better place. And yes, total deep heart to heart love.
This story had me laughing, crying a box of tissues worth of tears, and then back to the puddle of heartwarming, hold this book tight, love affirming, hope filled, reader goo. When they put out that question “What books would you take to a deserted island?”, I now can answer firmly that Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston is right there in the top 5, maybe top three. If I can bring a narrator along then Ramón de Ocampo is coming too.
Because he may be a new favorite as well. He swings effortlessly between accents, English, American, Hispanic….no problem. And different people within those accents. Again with ease. I didn’t want to stop listening…take the dogs out? The story kept going. Listened through dinner, lunch, even breakfast. It was hard even to go to sleep until I had finished it. It was and is perfection. I really feel any words are almost inadequate to describe how beautifully written, how gorgeous a story, how memorable a love story you will find within these pages.
And what a splendid job Ramón de Ocampo does with the author’s tale.
This will be in my Best of 2019 this year. Yes, I highly recommend it in both ebook and audio. Get both.
Cover art is cute, but honestly nothing on the cover will live up to what is inside.
Listening Length: 12 hours and 15 minutes
Published May 14th 2019 by Macmillan Audio
Original Title Red, White & Royal Blue
Edition Language English