Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This book was a pure delight! I can’t think of a better way to describe it. I couldn’t get enough of Alex and Henry, my heart was rooting for them from the very start. Talk about a forbidden romance – the First Son of the United States and a Prince of England falling in love! Add to that the fact that Alex is also mixed-race and son of the first-ever female president – who happens to be up for reelection and you’ve got a recipe for quite the international scandal. It was hard to see a way where things would end well for these two but it sure made for a fun read finding out if they had any sort of future! 

Things didn’t start off all sunshine and rainbows between Alex and Henry. In fact, they were basically sworn enemies who were forced into a plan for damage control after a particularly public and expensive confrontation at a royal wedding. What started off as veiled threats behind forced smiles for the cameras slowly turned into late-night phone chats, texts, and emails as these young men learn they’ve got more in common than they thought and an unlikely friendship ultimately turns into a really beautiful – if completely forbidden – love. Realizing they’ve found something worth fighting for, they have to figure out how to hold onto what they have while not sabotaging Alex’s mom’s campaign and completely upending not one, but two nations. 

I loved Alex, his character was so well developed. He was the perfect blend of confident charm and sweet vulnerability. He was young, only in his early twenties, but I think life experiences have also given him maturity beyond his years. I thought the author did a nice job of balancing both aspects of his personality. The White House Trio, comprised of Alex, his sister, June, and the granddaughter of the VP, Nora, were such a great combination of characters. Their love and support for one another and the unique qualities they brought to the friendship and the campaign were just really well done. I’m glad that Alex had them in his corner as his life quickly spun out of control (not always in a bad way). Alex antagonizing Prince Henry was a riot and later on became an adorable way of flirting. Things haven’t always been easy for Alex but there’s no doubt that Prince Henry has had a much tougher time in his relatively short lifetime. Being an heir to the throne carries a lot of responsibility that he’s had very little say in and being a gay man – forced to stay closeted –  has made it even harder on him. I loved how supportive Alex turned out to be for Henry. I think Henry really needed that kind of unconditional love in his life to finally find the courage to go after what he wanted. The chemistry between Alex and Henry was both tender and smoking hot – which is seriously impressive considering the love scenes were basically fade-to-black. This one will still get you a little hot around the collar! 

One other thing I wanted to mention was the political climate constructed in this book. It was by no means a perfect world, but it did make me long for a country that was more in line with the ideals and acceptance that were ultimately portrayed. Especially when contrasted with the cluster that is the current state of our country. I thought it was a nice place to escape to, if even for just a little while. 

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