Series: The Royals #1
Published by: Pocket Star on March 27, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
In this charming, modern retelling of the classic Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday, a royal prince tries to escape his hectic and rigid life and ends up leading a young graduate student on a chase through the Eternal City.
Julia Costa is too busy trying to complete her PhD while also holding down a full-time job as a private tour guide in Rome to keep up with celebrity gossip. So when she crosses paths with a real, actual prince, she mistakes him for a client and takes him on a daylong tour of the city.
Intrigued by the idea of spending time with someone who obviously has no idea who he is, and delighted at the prospect of a day free of royal obligations, Niccolo La Torre, Crown Prince of Lazaretto, acts on impulse and assumes the role of Julia’s client. He swears to himself that he’ll return to his royal duties after only half a day…but he’s having the time of his life.
Until Julia presents him with the bill. Since he snuck out of the hotel without so much as a dime, he tries to escape, only to discover that she won’t let him out of her sight until he can pay her back. She’s determined to get her money…and perhaps more from the handsome stranger she’s fallen for.
You have no idea how much I wanted to (and almost could have) love this book.
The premise—girl meets prince and doesn’t know he’s a prince—is PERFECT. Add in Rome and it’s beyond perfect. But sadly the book didn’t quite work up to my hopes.
It started out pretty good, but then it dwindled.
What I liked
- The main character, Julia, working as a tour guide. I loved her passion for history and archaeology.
- The setting (ROME!!).
- The premise (falling for a prince when she doesn’t know he’s a prince).
What I didn’t like
1) Mr. Prince was SO inconsiderate about what he was doing.
Julia arrives at a hotel to take her client on a tour. She mistakes Niccolo (Mr. Prince) as the client and Niccolo doesn’t correct her. Instead he’s like, “ohh this would be fun!” and poses as the client. He gives no consideration to the fact that Julia would be bailing on the REAL client who actually booked this tour. Then to top it all off, at the end of the day she gives Niccolo the bill and he’s all like, “lol I don’t carry money with me.”
So he puts her job in jeopardy for bailing on a real client View Spoiler » [(she actually gets FIRED!) « Hide Spoiler] , then he doesn’t even pay her for her trouble View Spoiler » [okay he does eventually, but he drags it out for two whole days « Hide Spoiler] . And I feel like he never really apologized for all this. He put her through so much stress and never seemed to appreciate the fact that unlike him, she’s not a prince and she has actual bills she’s struggling to pay.
The whole thing made him seem so annoyingly privileged.
2) It was cheesy (and maybe this contributed to the lack of chemistry)
Maybe this is a personal preference thing, but some of the writing was really cheesy for my taste. It just kind of made me giggle. I think these parts were meant to showcase their chemistry, but because I was giggling rather than swooning, I wasn’t on board with it. I didn’t feel like there was chemistry, just kind of eye roll romance.
He wanted to bury himself deep inside her until his demons became nothing more than distant memories.
The more she moved, the more luminous she felt, until her core became filled with stardust.
I’d be worried if my core was full of stardust.
It wasn’t sex. It was poetry.
3) If I was Julia, I think I’d be creeped out
Imagine taking a client on a tour and he spends the whole tour hitting on you… and actually kissing you. I think I had a problem with this because I wasn’t on board with the chemistry. Since the chemistry wasn’t there for me, I just thought Niccolo’s actions were creepy. He’s constantly getting all up in her personal space, kissing her, hinting about kissing her again (even after she said, “stop — this isn’t appropriate”), etc.
But she was heartbreakingly inexperienced. Of that he was certain. Oh the things he wanted to teach her. Not wanted. Craved. Needed.
Without a doubt. She was to be his plaything, his prey.
Making love to her was no longer a choice. It was a raw, aching need. He needed to penetrate her pain, her past and her present. Doing so was the only way he could find peace.
4) Then there’s the insta-love
I guess it’s to be expected, but it was still a bit ugh. Maybe I would have been fine with it if I saw the chemistry and the romance was less cheesy. But those things were there and that made the insta-love stick out even more.
The two knew each other for two days and were then professing their love. Sigh.
I really REALLY wanted to love this book. I’m bummed that I didn’t. It had so much potential but didn’t work out for me. I think the problems were largely due to me not clicking with the book in the right ways. If I saw the chemistry and was more on board with the writing style, I think I could have loved this. But because I didn’t mesh with those things, it all went south.
So if you’re not giggly or weirded out by the quotes I mentioned above, then I would suggest you give the book a try. It definitely has some things going for it and the potential to be great; you just have to click with it.