It’s on every shelf and every agent wishlist, and for good reason. Red, White & Royal Blue had me laughing out loud one minute and leaking happy-sappy tears the next. My partner kept giving me concerned looks from the corner of his eye. The last third of the book required chocolate with my tissues.

In a “good timeline” alternate history, the White House was taken by a smart, driven, progressive woman in 2016. The first son of the United States, Alex Claremont-Diaz, has it all figured out. He’s brilliant, charismatic, passionate, and poised to rocket into a political career of his own.

But a drunken fight with the young Prince of Wales, Henry, leaves both countries scrambling for a diplomatic solution. In the process of his forced photo-op tour, Alex finds out Prince Henry is not at all what Alex expected, and ready to turn his world upside down.

The sheer wholesome heartache in this book turned me upside down and inside out. The steam comes hot and emotional, the banter quick and witty, and the love both epic and deeply personal in scope. What really had me, though, was the romance. The outpouring of lyrical, poetic love rips their hearts out and lays it bare for us all to read. At times I almost felt guilty for eavesdropping on such a vulnerable conversation. What’s more, the author manages this epic romantic and sexual tension with characters separated by an ocean.

I’ve never been a fan of the epistolary style, and I’m enough of a gen-x old fart to have trouble getting into text exchanges in fiction. In this case, the author keeps the written exchanges lively and the voices strong and unique. She keeps the challenges between the lovers believable, and refuses to take the easy way out by resorting to pseudo-conflict. They have plenty of obstacles without it.

I’m generally not a fan of present-tense fiction, especially in romance. Most authors cannot pull it off and it becomes so awkward and jarring that I don’t finish the book. This is a rare exception, as I was halfway through the book before I even noticed the present tense. It flows naturally from a main character who, despite his knowledge of history, is dynamically and boldly living in the present, looking at the next moment instead of the last. It adds energy and tension to the story, and is brilliantly executed.

If you write romance, read romance, or just need to fall in love, you have to read this book. Ask your library to stock it, too.

Visit Casey McQuiston online for more information (and a very cute puppy!). The book is available from just about every store.

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