A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston


Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe the goodness that is bundled up in this book. Unique? Exciting? Interesting? Challenging? Amazing? Magnificent? Superb? Heartwarming? Heartbreaking? Educational? Eye-opening?

Full of both ahhh and ah-hah moments, this story emitted a sort of sticky substance that made my kindle adhere to my hand until the last page was complete. I haven’t read a book so difficult to put down in quite some time.

The characters had character—another trait not always present in stories I’ve read. They were also young, vibrant, intelligent, respectful of their parents and family, and knew their places in the world. But they fell in love and everything they thought they knew turned topsy-turvy.

The royal family was just that—decidedly royal—and the queen and the crown prince were remarkably stuffy traditionalists. Henry, our second-born prince who falls in love, was conscious of his role in the family and in history. He knew he was gay from an early age and was fearful that his grandmother, the queen, would never accept him as he was and would force a marriage to beget heirs—the royal lineage being of utmost importance. He was right. Her opinion seemed encased in concrete. But his mother, who has stayed in the background most of Henry’s life as she grieved her dynamic and carefree Hollywood actor husband who died when Henry was young, surprised him and became his staunch supporter when he needed her most. His sister, Bea, often referred to as the Powder Princess, due to her previous drug addiction, was his bestie. She rocked. She was an outstanding secondary character and helped Henry stay strong in the face of staunch traditionalism.

Alex was a remarkable young man. The son of a Latino father and Caucasian mother, both of whom were attorneys who knew their career path was politics, Alex grew to adulthood among politicians and idealists. Even when his parents divorced, he maintained his own objective in being elected the youngest member of Congress in history. He was bright, witty, and loving, and from the time he met Henry as a young teen, he hated the Brit with a passion. The only problem was that it wasn’t hate he felt for Henry at all and when the two finally overcame their animosity, the sparks started flying—in a good way.

Their letters and emails were a history lesson wrapped up in sweet love and the heartbreak of being a continent apart. I learned more from Ms. McQuiston’s snippets of letters sent between historical figures and authors and her tours of the White House and the Victoria and Albert Museum and other locations than I ever did sitting in a classroom. And yes, a few facts intrigued me so much I looked them up to learn more—something else none of my teachers ever induced in my lazy, history-hating teen self. It’s very evident the author did a great deal of research for this book and I absolutely appreciated every single snippet.

Catch me in a corner at a cocktail party and I will go on and on and on and…you get the picture. This book is number one on my Best of 2019 list. It is definitely in my top ten of all time. There aren’t enough superlatives to give it justice and even trying to describe the story in a way that captures the emotion in it is beyond me. The simple fact is that if you read this book, you will be giving yourself an incredible treat.

The very attractive cover features the title in the colors in the title words against a bright pink background. Two drawn characters are leaning on either side of the the word Blue. Unique and interesting, it not only represents the story but it’s as creative as the author’s imagination.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 425 pages
Expected publication: May 14th 2019 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Original TitleRed, White & Royal Blue
Edition Language English