On occasion (or twelve), I will read a book and put off writing the review. There are always different reasons, but it happens. It totally sucks when it is a book that I’ve been asked to review, especially if I didn’t like it the first time. Fortunately, I did rather enjoy this story, so it was more of a bonus that I got to read it twice.
Evie receives a letter from her mother, Lily, every birthday since her death. She knows her mom’s hopes and dreams for her, and after a year at college in Seattle, she finally achieves something her mother always wanted: Evie will be attending the University of Oxford, the very place where her British mother and American father met. She couldn’t be more excited about this next chapter of her life. What she doesn’t plan on is the quest she is sent on by her mother so she can learn the truth about her mother’s past.
Alone in Oxford, Evie gets pulled into a close-knit group of friends which just happens to include the prince who is second in line to the British throne. And while there seems to be an attraction between them, she knows better than to even hope that something happens. She’s American, she has no title, and he’s frequently photographed with Lady Jacqueline, his girlfriend.
So Evie is now part of a world where her picture finds its way on the cover of tabloids, a Lady may not have the best manners, princes can’t always do what they like, and the future may surprise you.
This may seem like a typical romance, but with the addition of a royal, it makes the “will they/won’t they” into a “can they/can’t they” situation. Even though there has definitely been a change in how royals feel about marrying commoners, there are still duties, protocol, etc., so it makes sense that even though Edmund is the second son, he still has to follow certain rules that most people don’t.
Stories set in England are some of my favorites, from Jane Austen to Dickens and Nick Hornby to Melissa Nathan. I was raised on Masterpiece Theater and Monty Python reruns. And as a fan of E’s The Royals, I could only picture actor William Moseley (Prince Liam) as Prince Edmund. The only thing I didn’t get was the second half of the tagline – “She’s secretly royal. He’s secretly loyal.” If someone can explain what he’s secretly loyal about, I’d really appreciate it.
I have found a title that falls into the “New Adult” category that isn’t all about a wallflower trying to lose her virginity. This book is what I imagined New Adult would be – that time after high school where a person has to start making adult decisions and navigate the world on their own. That certainly can involve sex, but as anyone who’s been through that time of life knows, that’s far from all.
And the mystery of Lily’s past is a bit of fun that adds a lot to the story and makes it more than a one-note tale.
The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright was published January 18, 2016 by Merit Press. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to the Publisher and the Author.
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Mystery Romance
Ages: 13 and up