Series: Royals in Exile #1
Published by Entangled: Loveswept on January 24th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Fairy tales do come true—and so do tabloid scandals! Bestselling author Marquita Valentine kicks off a juicy contemporary romance series with a novel about a prince whose best-laid plans go deliciously awry when he marries the maid next door.
Forced to flee to the United States with his siblings after their parents’ assassination, Crown Prince Colin Sinclair takes it upon himself to become the caretaker of his family while hiding out near Charlotte, North Carolina. But after a decade in hiding, the secret’s out and Parliament demands that Colin wed a princess of their choosing. Unwilling to play their game, Colin decides to marry an American instead, and he has the perfect candidate in mind.
As a home-service professional, Della Hughes doesn’t believe in storybook endings. But when her best friend and secret crush reveals that he’s a flesh-and-blood prince, she doesn’t know what to think. Still, she’ll do anything for Colin, including becoming his wife—in name only, of course. But when their plans to stay purely platonic go by the wayside, their fake honeymoon turns all too real. After a week of white-hot nights, Della can no longer deny her feelings—not with a happily ever after so tantalizingly close.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
“They can pretend we don’t exist, but that doesn’t mean we have to pretend we don’t exist as well.”
The members of the royal house of St. Claire––or what’s left of it, at least––are exiled to a small town in North Carolina after the gruesome murder of their parents. Colin Sinclair, the eldest of the siblings, is left to pick up the pieces, take care of his brother, twin sisters, and act as father to his baby brothers, both of whom are barely toddlers. It’s a heavy burden to carry, especially for someone who’s barely an adult, but with the help of the straightforward groundskeeper’s stepdaughter, Della Hughes, Colin somehow manages.
Ten years pass by in a blur, and the Sinclairs have lived in relative peace and quiet. Della has become a mother-figure to the younger Sinclairs, Aiden and Pierce, and a sister/friend to Theo, Charlotte, and Imogen. Most of all, she’s become Colin’s best friend, the one he can rely on more than anyone. So when the world finds out about the secret royal family living in the suburbs and the parliament demands Colin to take over the crown and marry someone of their choosing, Della steps in as his unsuitable bride. That way, the Parliament wouldn’t be able to force Colin to take the crown from his sister, Imogen, the rightful heir to the throne.
As Colin and Della enter into their marriage, clothes are torn off, secrets are revealed, feelings are confessed. They need to withstand everything thrown their way if they want to reach their happily ever after.
I liked the premise. I’m a huge marriage of convenience fan, so add in a bit of that royal element, and I’m intrigued. Hook, line, and sinker.
I also liked Della and Colin’s longstanding friendship. They complement each other so well, and it made me happy to see Colin have someone like Della and vice versa. Della is a no nonsense woman but she’s pretty much a mother bear to the Sinclairs. She’s not afraid to call them out on their bullsh*t, but she’s also incredibly loyal, caring and loving to them.
I loved learning more about the Sinclairs. They’re all interesting characters, and the little ones were adorable. Colin is the responsible one, taking care of the family business all the while taking care of his family and championing their case to return to their country from exile. Theo is outgoing, wild, and flirty. Charlotte and Imogen have contrasting personalities, where the former is more reticent and meek than the latter. Aiden and Pierce are lovable kids who adore Della and Colin.
I also loved that the crown is passed down to the female royals! It’s something I don’t usually encounter, so it was a pleasant surprise.
I think the story would have gone better if the mysteries and Sinclair family secrets were properly weaved. I believe the unveiling of those secrets wasn’t properly executed, and so it left me confused and a little disappointed. I suppose if the story were longer, there would have been more time to properly unveil everything––what happened to the Queen and King Consort, the prime minister’s agenda, Della’s secret, the younger boys’ parentage, to name a few.
Royal Scandal is a standalone contemporary romance about a royal family trying to find their way back home. Told in Colin and Della’s POV, it has its fair share of steam, fluff, and drama. A modern fairytale with its own happily ever after.