Inspired by Lauren at Bookmark Lit’s latest Book Blog Ideas post, I decided to channel her fabulous Read-Bait feature into a post where I feature a theme in a book that I’m obsessed with, and offer my own recommendations along with collecting recommendations of other readers who might have similar suggestions!
One of my all-time favorite tropes in the contemporary genre is seemingly normal characters finding out that they’re royal. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s also the ultimate wish-fulfillment plot line, imagining that something so extraordinary can happen to someone so ordinary. My love for this theme also expands to characters who marry into royalty or really just plain old royalty itself (especially if the character is royal but not in line for the throne, but then due to a twist of fate they suddenly are the crown’s heir…hence my obsession with Netflix’s The Crown, which is even better because it’s all true!) I feel like I have definitely NOT read enough books featuring royalty and I’ve been wanting to find some more ever since my recent re-watch of The Princess Diaries.
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan | Heavily influenced by the courtship of William and Kate, this book is utterly addictive. I loved that it spanned such a large length of time without ever feeling dull, and that it’s set in the real world and it’s about inheriting the real British throne. Bonus points for it being the fairy tale of the American girl capturing the British prince’s eye. SO MUCH FLUFF here but I love love love it.
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot | My love for this series knows no bounds. I’ve reread the series in its entirety at least 3 times, and have read the earlier books even more than that, to the point where my copies are literally falling apart (I purchased my copy of the first book in the series about 15 years ago and still have it). There is just not another series I can think of where the “normal to royal” trope is done so perfectly. When I found out about Royal Wedding, real screams were emitted. I try to push this series on everyone, not only for the plot but because of Cabot’s fantastically snarky writing and the hilarious pop culture references (especially the early 2000’s ones that are soooo fun to look back on now).
The Selection by Kiera Cass | Ok so while not contemporary, I loved the merging of reality tv and monarchy for the concept of this series (especially since in the USA, celebrities/heiresses are often referred to as “American Royalty” and often find their way onto reality tv shows). While this series isn’t perfect, I loved seeing how the prospect of marrying a royal would impact each contestant’s life (for better or for worse).
So tell me, do you have recommendations about contemporary novels that have the normal-to-royal (either by birth or by marriage) trope? Do you like this theme or do you find it so improbable that you don’t bother reading about it? Did you ever harbor a secret wish that you were secretly 37th in line for a foreign throne and no one had told you yet? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to leave your recommendations!
I really need to read The Royal We already. I’ve had on my shelf for at least 2 years now and I have yet to pick it up!
I highly recommend it! It IS pretty long but I loved catching all of the parallels between it and what I know of Kate and William’s real life courtship!
I absolutely LOVE this trope (as well as all celebrity romances, really). One that I liked pretty good was The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright (very Will & Kate-like story), but I liked the second one in that series better which has the same characters, but is less about royalty.
I had NO IDEA that there was a second book in that series! I was SO EXCITED about The Heir and The Spare and it honestly fell pretty flat for me (but I still kept my copy because it’s so pretty lol). I’m still tempted to give the second one a chance because I love the trope so much!
I have read so few books with this trope but I usually love it when I do! I still have to read The Royal We.
YES please do! I really think you would love it!
This sounds like an adorable trope!! The Princess Diaries is the only one I can think of reading. Oh wait!! I read The Blackcoat Rebellion series by Aimee Carter. I don’t know if I’d rec that though bc the main character was ANNOYING.
Oh I haven’t heard of this series! I will have to go check it out on GR and see if I can look past the MC 😉
Hmmm The Royal We on my bookshelf . . . next week?
Let me know what you think when you finish it!
It is a fun idea and I think I’ve read a few like this in the fantasy genre but not in contemporaries. Who wouldn’t want to be royalty right? 🙂
Oh any recommendations for the ones that fall into the fantasy genre?
Well let’s see Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb comes to mind. She’s tough on her characters – he goes through a LOT! He’s part of a royal family but becomes an assassin for the sovereign. The Queen of the Tearling comes to mind too, although she might have known she was royalty all along… my memory is fuzzy. It has the trope of she was raised in a woods until she’s old enough to ascend throne, but it’s kinda similar. 🙂 I wish I could think of more…
I completely agree- this trope is so much fun! I also wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts about The Selection- the series is definitely imperfect, but fascinating!
I wish there were more books that followed this trope! There’s something so satisfying about reading it- it’s like the ultimate wish-fullfillment trope!
I had no idea the Princess Diaries series was STILL going! Haha
I love the idea of this trope, but other than The Selection, I can’t really think of a series that fits that aren’t fantasy – and thus not giving the fluffy feels the genre deserves.
I really like the sound of The Royal We – I’ll have to keep my eyes out for it next time I’m shopping books.
Yes the series is still going strong! I HIGHLY recommend the Royal We, especially if you’re into more new adult/adult fiction!
Yep, I love everything to do with royalty! In real life and in books haha. I’ve been dying to read The Royal We for the longest time, I think I’ll make it a priority in April! I only read the first 3 Princess Diaries books, but I’m super tempted by Royal Wedding because the only thing I love more than royalty is…. royal weddings! The Selection wasn’t my favorite but it was definitely a fast, addictive read. I’m really excited for two upcoming contemps with royals in them: Romancing The Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney and Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm.
Ooooh thank you so much for the recommendations! I hadn’t heard of either of them before, and I just added them to my Goodreads TBR! Hopefully they satisfy my literary craving for this theme! 🙂