American Royals by Katharine McGee
Release date: September 3, 2019
An e-galley was provided by Random House via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren't just any royals. They're American. And their country was born of rebellion.
As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America's first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she's breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn't care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there's Samantha's twin, Prince Jefferson. If he'd been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.
The duty. The intrigue. The Crown. New York Times bestselling author Katharine McGee imagines an alternate version of the modern world, one where the glittering age of monarchies has not yet faded--and where love is still powerful enough to change the course of history.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I'm super into royal families. I have been for years. And I'm not just talking about the British Royal Family. I also follow the Scandinavian houses, other European families, and even some of the East/South Asian ones. So I was cautiously excited for American Royals. Of course the premise takes a little suspension of disbelief since we all know Washington didn't want to be king, and a bunch of colonists didn't want a king anymore.
But it's still fun to think about.
First and foremost, there were too many POVs. I really could've done without Daphne's because there was nothing redeeming about that girl. Her arc is weak and boring. I think limiting it to just Beatrice, Samantha, and Nina would've been fine. Beyond that, though, all of the three other girls felt a bit stiff. They felt like characters, not real people; relatedly, the plot sometimes felt a bit too much like what someone thinks a monarchy is. Also the whole pressure of Beatrice to marry, even though she's a girl, is a bit outdated. She's only 21, and it's 2019. I think the author could've done something revolutionary and created a country where that wasn't an issue, since she completely rewrote history.
There were a few historical anachronisms and issues that I don't think the author considered. She name-dropped teddy bears early on and didn't explain how they got their names in her fictional world til way too late (since they were named for Teddy Roosevelt in ours). Also I kept wondering about slavery and all the racial issues America has faced; they all seemed to be brushed under the rug, and I really would've liked to see how an America with a monarchy, one that likely didn't go through a Civil War, would've handled those.
There are three/four romances in the book (two are love triangles of sorts). Nina and Daphne are both interested in Prince Jefferson, and I found him and Nina much more compelling, although they're the typical "commoner dates a prince" fare. Beatrice has a little "princess falls for a member of her security team" plotline, and I definitely shipped that, so the ending was super disappointing (and abrupt). Samantha's romance started on a too familiar foot, and then most of the book is her pining for the guy and pouting that she can't have him, so I felt kinda meh about that.
I really wanted more political stuff, as well as just showing what royal life can be like. There was a lot of repetition about paparazzi, so it felt more like the royals were celebrities than true royalty.
Content warnings: sexism, underage drinking, characters sleeping together
The Verdict: What the heck was that ending.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: No.