The Royals Next Door- Review
The Royals Next Door
By Karina Halle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: August 31,2021
Source: Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 3.5 Stars
One of PopSugar’s Top Summer Reads of 2021!
An ordinary summer goes royally awry when a prince and princess move next door, bringing their handsome bodyguard with them, from New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle.
Piper Evans: elementary school teacher by day–avid romance reader and anonymous podcaster by night. She has a quiet, reclusive life, taking care of her mother, who lives 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.
I wanted to love this book, I really did. Karina Halle has knocked it out of the park with her royals books in the past. The premise of The Royals Next Door was interesting. What if you’re an elementary school teacher on a Canadian island and suddenly, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Harry and Meghan/Eddie and Monica) move in next door? And then you start to fall for their bodyguard?
Part of my issue throughout this book is that the story is only from Piper’s POV. I think this would have definitely benefited from some of Harrison’s POV. Also, side note, Harrison as the hero’s name? Piper was a strong character and she went through a lot. Her mother lives with her and is suffering from a mental illness. Piper herself is in therapy and it’s great to see that in a book, handled in a mindful way. Piper is a romance reader and has a podcast on romance novels. There’s a scene in the end of the book where she defends them and I thought that scene was great. Overall, I really would have liked more insight into Harrison as he was falling for Piper though.
My biggest issue with this book was that there was supposed to be outside pressure keeping Piper and Harrison apart. Apparently, it would have been bad in the press for the royals’ neighbor and bodyguard to fall for each other? That never made sense to me and it wasn’t really explained in a satisfactory way. Some of the decisions that they made, i.e. public sex, didn’t seem smart when they know that the press is on the island.
My final issue with the book is a more personal one. I’ve been a big royal watcher since I read my first Royal Diaries book as a child. As such, I have many thoughts about Harry and Meghan, mostly negative about Harry and how he handled introducing Meghan in to royal life. As such, the royal portrayal in this book was difficult for me. Eddie and Monica aren’t Harry and Meghan and didn’t make some of the controversial decisions that Harry and Meghan made. Eddie and Monica are an interracial royal couple who wanted a break from the negative and racist English press. I guess my issue is that they’re so clearly based on Meghan and Harry. In Karina Halle’s other royal romance, they take place in real countries, i.e. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Monaco, but the royals aren’t actually based on real, living, people. This is something that may not bother other readers at all but it did make me uncomfortable throughout the book.