Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick

Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick comes out May 25th from Berkley Romance, who provided me with a digital review copy. Here’s the official synopsis & my review is below.

When a lonely American event planner starts dating the gay Prince of Wales, a royal uproar ensues: is it true love or the ultimate meme? Find out in this hilarious romantic comedy.

After having his heart trampled on by his cheating ex, Carter Ogden is afraid love just isn’t in the cards for him. He still holds out hope in a tiny corner of his heart, but even in his wildest dreams he never thought he’d meet the Crown Prince of England, much less do a lot more with him.  Yes, growing up he’d fantasized about the handsome, openly gay Prince Edgar, but who hadn’t? When they meet by chance at an event Carter’s boss is organizing, Carter’s sure he imagined all that sizzling chemistry. Or was it mutual?

This unlikely but meant-to-be romance sets off media fireworks on both sides of the Atlantic.  With everyone having an opinion on their relationship and the intense pressure of being constantly in the spotlight, Carter finds ferocious obstacles to his Happily Ever After, including the tenacious disapproval of the Queen of England. Carter and Price Edgar fight for a happy ending to equal their glorious international beginning. It’s a match made on Valentine’s Day and in tabloid heaven.

I don’t mind insta-love if it’s done well, and the rest of the book sells me on the love story. But sometimes I just can’t buy into it. Unfortunately, that was the case for me with Playing the Palace.

The sense of humor in this book was excellent, and lots of scenes made me laugh. But the romance itself? So blah. I never bought into it, and it went from a few short interactions to Big Deal Love so quickly, I just couldn’t get on board. Maybe if the relationship had been given more time to flourish, I could have overlooked the insta-love first meeting. But it just didn’t work for me.

I also think the story itself was pretty forgettable. It’s like Rudnick was using the formula/trope of a royal romance as a vehicle for his humor — and the comedic aspect was funny — but the romance wasn’t believable at all. I love reading romance books to see how a trope is handled, but this felt almost insulting how carelessly the relationship was treated, in my opinion.

Overall, I was just disappointed in this one. It was a quick, easy read, which is why I finished it in lieu of DNF’ing, but I would not recommend it.


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