Hoo boy, this was a great book to read, and not to read at work, LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES!
Dani, AKA Duchess, is a huge rap artist in the states who is trying to break away from her label to take control of her own career and see success with her skincare brand. Prince Jameson wants nothing more than to disappear into academics, but after his aunts and uncle’s scandals, he’s chosen by the Queen to head a tribute to the beloved late King. After booking Duchess, without doing much prior research, Jameson and Dani are forced together under circumstance, and teach one another some very important lessons.
There wasn’t much I didn’t like about the book. The relationship developed fairly quickly, whereas most romances I’ve read take a little bit more time, but it worked for this book, plot-wise, although it did make the end seem to drag a little bit on.
There was one particular scene towards the end that pulled me out, though. I know some scenes I’ve tried to write that felt and read the same way, where there were a lot of characters in one place, and I’m not really sure how to keep track of them. They just kinda…fade in and out as the scene needs, and it ends up really awkward. The same can be said for the ball-Queen-confrontation scene. It just felt like a lot of characters all at once and they disappeared into one another, talking whenever the scene needed them to, but it was weird and it did take me out of the story. But also, as a writer, I know those scenes can be hard, so I’m not holding that against Livesay.
What did I like? A ton, really.
The book only took on as many characters as it could flesh out, and they all fit nicely within the narrative. I find a lot of romances sacrifice characterization for either the main characters, or the side characters, but American Royalty sat in a good middle.
I think the comparison between Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle was a good one, since this book also tackled the royal politics and racism therein. It was a nuanced take, and not something that you’d usually see in a romance novel. I appreciated the take, and I wish more romance novels would tackle tougher topics. There’s nothing wrong with romance novels written for the sake of romance, but there should be room enough for these types too.
Of course there was smut, which is why I cautioned about work, haha. Since I work in a bookstore that’s part of a college, there isn’t always a lot to do, especially in my little section, so I get to read. American Royalty was a book I’d seen bouncing around my side of BookTok, and so I pulled it off the shelves and hoowee, there were a couple of patrons that came up to my desk that watched me slam that book closed. It’s good smut too, closer to what I imagine AO3 readers are used to, and hotter than a lot of other romance books on the shelves. I appreciated it, and I look forward to Livesay’s future publications.
I really like Dani and Jameson as main characters. There’s a push and pull, and they don’t change so fundamentally as some romance mains do. They find ways to come together that benefit the both of them, and it’s a healthy relationship (well, after we get through the twists - it’s a romance, of course they end up together). I’m really looking forward to a sequel, hopefully about Rhys and the best friend (forgive me, her name is slipping my mind).
Trigger warnings: sexual content (on page), racism (blatant), sexism, death of a parent (past, mentioned), alcohol, death (mentioned), abandonment, sexual harassment (comments, touching), classism
Did I like? Absolutely.
Recommend? Yes, especially for fans of Megan thee Stallion, Cardi B, and the royal family.