Author Katharine McGee had a clever idea for this book, imagining that George Washington did NOT decline to be made king after the American Revolution but instead founded an American dynasty. Fast forward to today, where we have the House of Washington (headed by the latest King George and his wife, Queen Adelaide), thirteen dukedoms based on the original colonies, and other levels of assorted nobility. Next in line to inherit the kingdom is eldest Washington daughter Beatrice, the first female heir empowered to mount the throne upon the death of the king. Trained carefully all her young life, she has long and wearily subjugated her own personality in what she is told is required service to her future and country. She has younger, college-age siblings, twins Jefferson and Samantha, who, lacking any definite roles, generally spend their time haring around the world having a good time. While all three are good kids, a natural distance has gradually arisen between Beatrice and the twins.
If you are living and breathing today and have even a passing interest in the lives of the British royalty, the characterizations and plot will feel very familiar to you. Beatrice falls in love with her handsome commoner guard, even though she is expected to marry a proper royal. Jefferson likewise falls in love with a commoner–and a Latina, whose parents are lesbian, no less. Samantha is smitten with a royal, but unfortunately her parents deem him acceptable instead to marry her sister. Oh, it’s a Comedy of Errors, though in this book All’s Well That Ends Well cannot be said. Indeed, don’t expect that, because 437 pages just sets you up for a sequel, due out this fall.
The book is effectively plotted and written, with only a minor dissonant note here and there. The characters are stereotypical but fleshed-out. Tension and mystery are woven in.
By my count, the coarse language in this book consists of hell (1), damn (1), bitch (1) and Oh god (2, with small “g” BTW). Impressively mild, for YA fiction today.
Some steamy-ish thoughts are expressed, and there are a couple of brief, suggestive sex scenes, but there are no explicit descriptions. It IS interesting that characters go astray due to uncharacteristic episodes of heavy drinking (although these do serve to let their real selves out).
If you’re a Hallmark movie fan, this book is for you.