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Reviews of Pace's Previous Novels:
His Royal Secret (#1) -- TBQ
When you are royalty, the decision to come out isn’t one taken lightly, and unfortunately has some repercussions. But Ben has changed everything in James’s life, and for once he’s not opposed to going public. It won’t be an easy road, he may very well lose support, even the crown, and because of that perhaps even send his sister into a crisis. Yet even so, James is tired of hiding in the closet, royal or not.
Where His Royal Secret was more focused on Ben and James’s budding relationship, His Royal Favorite picks up where the “honeymoon stage” – not, not literally – ends and reality sets in. James comes out to the world, with Ben at his side (and therefore also in the news) and must fight to keep his place as heir to the throne. For James, the royal life and responsibilities are so much a part of him that leaving it all behind would be nearly difficult for him – unless that decision is taking away from him by the church and monarchy. Yet Ben can’t handle the royal life, the constant burn of eyes upon his every move and his every secret, and as much as he loves James, the lifestyle starts to cage him in, creating a bit of a rift between the two. They come from two very different worlds and want two very different things in life; they love each dearly, but they have to see if they can work it all out because love, while powerful, cannot patch together their mismatched life all by itself.
Indigo – James’s sister – does have a crisis in this book (self-harm and anxiety), and man, it was painful to read it, yet I was so glad to see her finally getting help, to see her fighting for herself and her life – to see James and Ben, and even the uncle, rally around her to offer what support they could. I thought Indigo’s mental illness was handled quite well in both of these books, but of course if that’s a trigger for you, you can always skip the scenes. I was also very happy to see her happiness at the end of this book; it was very much deserved, and honestly, I would have liked to read her full story.
There’s a lot less sex in this one compared to HRS. Like, the sex is almost MIA here, and what is given is very brief. While I’m not saying that sex is everything or the Major Requirement for Romance (it’s not), I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a bit disappointed in the lack of it. I realize that turning to sex would not have fixed the problems James and Ben had going on, and of course I’m glad that sex wasn’t used as an easy out (and ultimately a makeshift band aid to their relationship), but I do wish there had been at least one good sex scene shown. Perhaps their second chance at the dungeon fantasy, which failed earlier in the book because of the various issues and conflicts, internal and external, going on at the time.
Sex aside, I did feel like His Royal Favorite was not quite as strong as HRF, at least for me. Then again, this one showed more of the reality of the rocky road to a HEA – difficult in any relationship, but most especially here, because Royalty Problems – while HRS was more about the romance and relationship building blocks. I was completely drawn into the story in HRS, but His Royal Favorite didn’t have my attention as thoroughly.
However, I would like to point out that mood has a huge impact on reading, and during the week that I was reading this, I was not in the best mood; I’m sure that factored into my reading experience, though how much is hard to say. Would I have loved this one more if I had read it right after finishing HRS, or at least if I had read it a different week, one where my mind wasn’t on the countless stresses in my life? Perhaps so.
Regardless, I was still more than happy with the conclusion to their story.
I absolutely loved this part, from the epilogue. It all started with the chess game, after all.
All that being said, it’s not like I was disappointed in this book by any means, and when I say I didn’t love it as much as HRS, we’re talking about a very small separation in rating between the two; I gave HRS 4 ½ stars, and this gets a solid 4 from me. Together with book 1 – and you must read them together, otherwise you’ll not get James and Ben’s full story – this was a great story arc that I very much enjoyed. If you want a contemporary royalty romance between a prince and the man he met one rainy day, I highly recommend this duology. Especially if you want the lushness of royal life alongside the reality of such a life, and public relationship, both of which Pace handles very well. The epilogue was so perfect: cute, sweet, and enjoyable, and spanned multiple months, giving us a glimpse into not only James and Ben’s future, but also many of the other royal family and friends. I can’t imagine a better ending than that.
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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.
*Note: The quotes used belong to Lilah Pace; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.
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Until Next Time,
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