ARC Review: Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Title: Truly Madly Royally
Author: Debbie Rigaud
Publisher: Point Paperbacks
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Paperback, 304 Pages
Publication Date: July 30th, 2019

Summary: Fiercely independent and smart, Zora Emerson wants to change the world. She's excited to be attending a prestigious summer program, even if she feels out of place among her privileged, mostly white classmates. So she's definitely not expecting to feel a connection to Owen, who's an actual prince of an island off the coast of England. But Owen is funny, charming...and undeniably cute. Zora can't ignore the chemistry between them. When Owen invites Zora to be his date at his big brother's big royal wedding, Zora is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, along with her family and friends. Everyone is talking about her, in real life and online, and while Owen is used to the scrutiny, Zora's not sure it's something she can live with. Can she maintain her sense of self while moving between two very different worlds? And can her feelings for Owen survive and thrive in the midst of the crazy? Find out in this charming romantic comedy that's like The Princess Diaries for a new generation.

First of all, any book that is described as The Princess Diaries for a new generation is absolutely up my alley. So when I saw that Debbie was doing a signing at BookCon this year, I made sure that I was on that line. And let me just say, for starters, that I'm super glad I did, because Debbie was super friendly and sweet and excited, and she even recognized me from the name on the my badge, so she held up the line to give me a hug!! It made my heart really warm and happy to meet such a genuinely friendly author like that. It was such a special moment! So without further ado, let's get into my review:

As the summary explains, Zora happens to run into this cute guy, Owen, during a summer class at a nearby college campus. What she isn't expecting to find out is that Owen is the prince of a small European country -- and he's infatuated with her. Because of that, suddenly Zora finds herself landing an invitation to the biggest royal wedding of the year, but what she signs up for is totally nothing like her life in New Jersey. So a lot of hijinks and sabotage ensue, as well as lots of the royal glitz and glamour!

I enjoyed reading this book. If you're a longtime follower here at The Book Bratz, then you know that I'm a sucker for all sorts of royal stories. So when I found out about this one, I knew it was something I really wanted to read. Falling in love with a prince? Count me in! I also absolutely adored Zora's character -- I felt like she was really smart and determined and capable, and it was clear that she cared deeply about her community. I was cheering for her the whole way, especially when she faced a lot of backlash from those who doubted her or also assumed things about her. 

However, something that I really struggled with in this book was the pacing. The book is only about 280 pages, but Zora doesn't even get to the royal wedding until about page 240, so it felt like the book had a lot of really slow buildup and then suddenly we were out of time and everything got all rushed at the end. It also felt like there were a lot of plot threads that randomly disappeared off to nowhere and then didn't get picked up again, to the point that so much was going on that most times I as a reader didn't even feel like Owen and Zora's relationship was the focus even a little bit. Which is fine for sure, but it was just confusing since the synopsis of this book leads you to believe that you're heading into it for a royal love story, but then that's not the focus half of the time and the main love interest seems to only be two-dimensional and you don't know much about him. It just confused me a lot while I was reading, which made me really bummed because I was so excited about the royalty aspect of this story and the royal wedding itself, but it felt like it passed by in a jumbled blur where barely anything is dwelled on and you rush through the experience. That speed-up of pacing in the end really threw me off and was definitely something that I really struggled with.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Truly Madly Royally, and I'd recommend it for anyone looking for a quick summer read to enjoy at the beach or on the train to work, or even from the comfort of your own bed. It was an easy story to get through and is less than 300 pages, which is always helpful if you're a speed reader and looking for something quick to pick up! I'm glad I got to meet Debbie and pick up her book at BookCon this year, and I'd certainly recommend it if you're a fan of reading royal stories! 


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