I had a lot of expectations going into reading Casey McQuiston’s Red, White, and Royal Blue and the good news is that it was even more delightful than I expected. In times like these, it was wonderful to be able to immerse myself in a slightly more positive alternative universe (think Great British Bakeoff meets Madame Secretary) and truthfully, I did not want to leave.
For those of you who haven’t read it or read one of the many Cannonball Read reviews of it, the basic plot is this. Alex Claremont-Diaz is the first son of the first woman president of the United States, Ellen Claremont. He and his sister June and friend, Nora, the granddaughter of the Vice President, are close friends and are internet darlings/public relations gold. Alex’s image takes a hit when while attending a royal wedding, he has an altercation with Henry, the young prince of Wales. It turns out Alex has had a hate/hate relationship with Henry ever since a snub several years back.
The altercation ends with both men falling onto a table, ruining a $75,000 wedding cake. To begin to control the damage of Cakegate, both the president’s and the Queen’s people decide that Henry and Alex should claim that that they are the best of friends and that this moment at the royal wedding was just a playful tussle. To sell this charade, Alex is forced to fly back to England and spend the weekend socializing with Henry and posing at various moments for the press and lots of Instagram posts.
The weekend is about as awkward and staged as you might expect but after it’s over, Alex and Henry start to text each other and their friendship, a real relationship, grows as they get to know each other—two famous sons who have a lot more in common with each other than they thought. Of course, this is a romance so you know where it’s going but McQuiston develops their relationship in a wonderfully believable way—a relationship that threatens to upend things on both sides of the pond.
If you are getting ulcers from listening to the impeachment hearings or watching the news, may I recommend this book to soothe your soul—at least for a few hours.