Queen from the North: A Royal Roses Book

by Erin McRae , Racheline Maltese

This was quite an entertaining read in several ways I wasn’t expecting. First of all, it’s a quite interesting modern alternate monarchy, still steeped in history and tradition, for the British Monarchy. This is the story of Arthur, Prince of Wales, who is a widower next in line for the throne with no heir.

It’s also the story of Amelia, a daughter of nobility from Northern York, which in this world is still under conflict with the South.

They meet at a garden party, and Arthur asks her to consider marrying him.

What follows, and what kept me reading up late at night to find out what happens, is Amelia slowly becoming sucked into the regimented, isolating, and public life of a Princess. And while Arthur is a heartthrob of a Prince, he kind of waxes hot and cold depending on his public duties.

Their courtship is at first tantalizing slow in a low-steamy kind of way. They have to steal private moments and there’s definitely an attraction, but then the nature of royal life gets in the way, or Arthur ghosts her (and actually about halfway through when they’d already intellectually commited to each other, Arthur’s ghosting became something difficult to believe and annoying rather than teasing). The last third of the book, this “hero and heroine never in the same room” dealio wasn’t as interesting any more, because when Arthur and Amelia are together, it’s awesome.

And there’s quite a lot of cool stuff here. Insight into what it might be like to be suddenly thrust into the public light, having to close your drapes all the time, not being able to run to the corner store for milk, etc. And there’s definitely some awesome side characters I hope get a book themselves one day. There’s Arthur’s younger sister, who is spooky and genderqueer and has a tie to the ravens of the Tower. And there’s the irrepressible Mr. Jones who becomes Amelia’s personal royalty customer service representative.

Definitely worth a read for any Anglophile or lover of more formal, less steamy romances.