A Royal Pain, Megan Mulry’s first novel, is a fun, entertaining read.
When Bronte Talbot packs up her bags and moves to Chicago to be close to a new lover, her life diverges on a path she never would have guessed at. Madly in love with Max, her commitment issues have her balking on any long term plans with him – and this is before she learns that he is in fact the nineteenth Duke of Northrop.
There are a lot of things that make this a fun book – a really fun book. Bronte is an advertising executive in the fashion industry, and as such gets to wear beautiful clothes, attend fancy events, and live a very nice city life. She works for awesome bosses who support her relocations from New York to Chicago and back, not to mention London. Since Max is a duke and has an apparently unlimited amount of money, they eat at awesome restaurants and have no worries about the cost of, say, several transatlantic flights between London and New York. She’s young and beautiful, he’s young and handsome – you get the picture.
Overall, the book is well written and entertaining. Mulry’s writing style is delightful, perfect for a light, juicy romantic novel. The characters are extremely likable and the plot moves at a quick pace (part of the issue for Bronte, really!) I would be remiss as a reviewer if I didn’t mention that there are multiple steamy and descriptive, but tastefully written, intimate scenes. I think that perhaps my only criticism is that her commitment issues make up the majority of the conflict in the book, and it gets tiring after a while. There is a great opportunity for some conflict development with Bronte being a commoner and Max being royalty which is hinted at but then conveniently, and rather inexplicably, resolved. Perhaps the author felt that such a conflict may be a bit cliche and decided to stay away from it, but if that’s the case, then there’s no need to bring it up in the first place.
Also interesting is the description on the back of the novel. I think it’s rather misleading. It says, for example, “she teases him unmercifully about the latest scandals of his royal countrymen”. Without going back and rereading the entire book to confirm my memory, I don’t think she really does this even once. She does at dinner one night ask if he’s met any royals and what they are like, but that’s about it. Also, she teasingly calls him “m’lord” a few times just because he’s British, which I do think is a little bit silly.
All in all, the whole part about her guilty pleasure following the British royal scene is underdeveloped, while the description places heavy emphasis on it. Also, the description hints that the royal lifestyle may not be to her liking, when in fact throughout the story she experiences very little of the royal lifestyle except for one visit to London. The book is really about her dealing with her commitment issues so that she can (hopefully) move forward with a great guy.
Overall, the writing style and the likability of the characters and the “fun” factor of the book overshadow the criticisms I have. If you’re looking for a fun “beach” read – or at this point, maybe something light to curl up with in front of a fireplace with a glass of wine – this is a good pick.
Rebecca is a stay at home mom and lives in Plain City, a sleepy little town in central Ohio, with her husband and young son. She enjoys cooking, eating, Zumba, crafting, and of course, reading!
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Sourcebooks Landmark. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.