Authors: Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit.
Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is far more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become.
Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love–her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself – will have been for nothing.
This is an intriguing novel for those who are fans of a commoner and a celebrity falling in love against the odds. It does seem to be a reworked Kate and William fanfiction with an American twist for our main female. The characters fit right into real life with the prince’s younger outgoing brother, the female’s close friendship with her sister, and then our two main characters meeting while attending the same university. I knew this novel was written by social media women, but I didn’t know who they were until someone else pointed it out to me. Heather Cooks and Jessica Morgan are the “Fug Girls” of the celebrity fashion website Go Fug Yourself. I’ve since checked it out and it’s fairly entertaining.
Rebecca (“Bex”) Porter is an art student who currently attends Cornell University. She decides to participate in an exchange program with Oxford’s Penbroke School for a year. She’s nervous about going alone, but determined to go out on her own away from her twin sister, who she’s shared almost every experience with and is her best friend. As money doesn’t seem to be an issue, it’s implied that Bex comes from a upper middle class (or higher) family since she already attends an expensive school and can afford to take any extra expenses to study abroad. It’s a dream I’m envious of as doing an exchange program was never in the cards for me or many people that I know. I like the fact that Bex is an artist, but her character seemed to be attending both schools for the sake of attending them, but not because they would help her achieve her career dreams. It really seemed like a waste of money when she could’ve save funds by attending art schools. However, it is understandable she didn’t follow the logical choice as without the exchange program with Oxford, there would have been no story.
We start the actual story at Bex and Nick’s wedding as Bex is convincing herself that she is good enough to marry into the royal family. She also thinks about all the fun times that she and Nick had together and the story shifts to explain how the two of them met before falling in love. Bex arrives at her dorm while it is raining and there’s no answer initially at the door to let her in. Eventually, Nick shows up to help her with her bags and to show her to her room. Bex has no clue that the person she just met is the crown prince (Nicolas, Prince of Wales). She soon finds out his identity from one of the other students in the dorm. Our story then continues on the two of them first forming a friendship, along with their close knit group of fellow “dorm-mates,” and then developing romantic feelings for the other. We continue on as Bex now has to adjust to life in the limelight with her life on constant display to the public and everything she does is now under a microscope.
This novel is split into five parts that chronicle Nick and Bex’s journey together. I love that we get to experience each part of their relationship, but this novel, as a whole, gets bogged down in the details a lot. Almost everything is described in detail, whether it is the backstory and rules of a drinking game at Oxford or the entire day from start to finish. As a result, I felt that this novel dragged in many places and it came close to being a DNF for me as it almost become mundane reading every single detail that doesn’t advance the plot or give any necessary support to the story. The will they-won’t they aspect for Nick and Bex goes on for longer than most novels, but it was well done throughout. Even after the two of them become a couple, there is a lot of will they-won’t they as Bex struggles to be in the public eye and fit into the image the royal family expects and Nick, who has trouble understanding how difficult the adjustment actually is.
The secondary characters were very enjoyable as I loved Clive, Cilla, Bea, Joss, and Gaz who all were a part of the “dorm-mates” friend group as they all lived in the same dorm. They made a great group of friends that were supportive, catty (at times), and entertaining overall. Nick’s brother, Freddie, and Bex’s sister, Lacey, were also very fun and I loved any time that they appeared in the story. Every character was enjoyable even when the story didn’t involve Nick. We follow Bex’s journey, so it’s pretty much from her perspective and events surround her.
Overall, this book was enjoyable and I would read the sequel. There’s a lot that happens, including parts that I want to discuss, but don’t want to spoil. Nick and Bex get along well and they have great chemistry so I can understand how they would initially become romantically involved. It’s a great read if you want a fanfic version about the Duke and Duchess of Wales, while still being original. There are tons about the paparazzi that ring true and it was incredibly well done as those events ring true in reality. A great novel that would, in my opinion, benefit from some page reduction, but still enjoyable and entertaining.