Thank you to Berkley Romance for the gifted copy of The Royals Next Door
As a Canadian, I grew up hearing about the royal family a lot – I watched the modern royal weddings, saw the Queen’s holiday addresses every year and saw the Queen’s face on my money every day. Naturally, I’ve always really enjoyed stories featuring royalty – so I was very, very excited to read The Royals Next Door.
Piper Evans: elementary school teacher by day–avid romance reader and anonymous podcaster by night. She lives a quiet, reclusive life, taking care of her mother, who struggles with mental illness, avoiding her regrettable ex, who bartends in town, and trying to make inroads in the tight-knit island community that still sees her, five years in, as an outsider.
And she’s happy with how things are–really–until British royals rent the property next to hers and their brooding bodyguard decides she’s a security threat. Piper quickly realizes that one person’s fairy tale is an ordinary woman’s nightmare as a media frenzy takes over the island and each run-in with Harrison Cole is hotter and more confusing than the last. But beneath Harrison’s no-nonsense exterior lies a soft heart, one that could tempt a woman who’s sworn off attachments into believing in white knights.
But when Piper finds herself smack in the middle of a royal scandal that rocks the island she’ll need more than Harrison’s strong arms to shield her–she’ll have to do a little rescuing herself. With careers, hearts, and friendships on the line, Piper and Harrison will have to decide what they’re willing to give up for a chance at their own happily ever after.
The writing style took a bit for me to get into – I found the style at the beginning a bit inconsistent, but towards the middle it evened out. In particular, some of the dialogue was a little clunky at times. The author did a great job describing the setting of the book – a small island off the coast of British Columbia (close to where I grew up!). I could basically smell the pines and salty air.
Piper was a fun main character – she was a huge lover of romance novels (relatable) and was a schoolteacher by day and a romance novel based content creator by night. In the start of the book, she was very isolated from her community – though that began to change when two members of the royal family moved next door. While she did grow to be more confident and less hermit-y, she didn’t have as much character growth as I would have hoped for. I found her to be a little on the one dimensional side in some regards.
Piper and Harrisons relationship was spicey for sure – but sometimes their chemistry felt a little half-baked. I wanted more lingering glances and build up than I got. Once they were together, they were definitely cute – but their relationship felt more like friends with benefits than an actual relationship – even once they were out in the open. I think a lot of this came down to Harrison’s character – he was very one dimensional for me – he was broody, liked baking and was dedicated to Eddie. Outside of that, I really couldn’t tell you anything about him, which I think contributed greatly to his and Piper’s lack of sparks. They weren’t bad together or anything – they just weren’t quite where I had hoped they would be by the end of the book.
Overall, The Royals Next Door was a fun beach read – I could see myself reading it with a pina colada somewhere warm and sunny. I think it’s one of those stories that in a week’s time I won’t remember much of it. If you’re looking for an excellent story featuring royals, check out Red, White and Royal Blue. 3/5