Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Books I've Read: A Tale of Two Princes

This was kind of a silly book, but one that I kind of enjoyed, despite the ridiculousness of its premise.  

Basically, it's kind of a Parent Trap story.  But set against the rather preposterous idea of Canada suddenly having its own monarchy - known throughout the book at the Maple Crown.  Seriously, the number of times maple was mentioned in this book was ridiculous.  It's enough to give you diabetes!

Edward is the Crown Prince of Canada, just waiting for his eighteenth birthday and his investiture as the heir to the Canadian throne.  Weeks before the big event, a chance meeting with a stranger who looks remarkably like him leads to the discovery that Edward has a long-lost twin, Billy.  And Billy is a minute older, so is in fact heir to the throne.

Obviously this is not ideal for Edward, especially when Billy blurts out that he's gay in his first public outing, something Edward has been keeping hidden for years for fear of tarnishing the Crown's reputation.  As his resentment grows, Edward plots to sabotage his newfound brother by trying to turn public opinion against him.

On his part, Billy is overwhelmed with discovering he's a prince.  He's spent his life on a Montana ranch and believes it's his destiny to stay there and keep it running for his recently deceased father.  All of a sudden he finds himself in the global spotlight and his every move is being scrutinised by the press.  And his family's moves too...

As the big day gets closer, it becomes increasingly uncertain which head will eventually wear the crown.

To enjoy this book, you really need to just accept the ridiculousness of the Canadian monarchy.  It's not explained that well - one of the Queen's sons had an affair with a Canadian commoner and the press hounded them out of town - and its value and structure within the Canadian political system is never clear.  But if you can just believe that that exists, you can just move on and enjoy the story.

The book is told in dual POV, but the two boys' voices are a little too alike and I found I had to keep checking back to see whose section I was reading.  Edward, who was brought up Canadian, speaks French and sprinkles a few words en francais into his sections, but that's not quite enough to different backgrounds and life experiences.

Billy has a precocious younger sister who vlogs on social media and a genderqueer bestie with dreams of becoming a fashion designer - both these things are important to the plot, but the characters are fully fleshed out enough to feel like they exist for any reason other than the parts they play in the drama.

Edward has a best friend who is out and proud and a girlfriend who is certain she's going to marry a prince and secure the social currency she's sure she deserves.

I think this book is very flawed in so many ways, but I actually didn't hate it.  It made me smile a lot because it was just so silly and the shenanigans got more and more ridiculous the closer we got to the princes' big moment.

So I'm torn about recommending it.  On the one hand, it's kind of a fun romp, but on another, it's just really not that good.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Will these long-lost twin princes be able to take on high school, coming out, and coronations together—or will this royal reunion quickly become a royal mess?

Edward Dinnissen, Crown Prince of Canada, loves getting the royal treatment at his exclusive Manhattan private school and living in a fancy mansion on Park Avenue. But despite living a royal life of luxury, Edward is unsure how to tell his parents, his expectant country, and his adoring fans that he’s gay.

Billy Boone couldn’t be happier: he loves small-town life and his family’s Montana ranch, and his boyfriend is the cutest guy at Little Timber High. But this out-and-proud cowboy is finally admitting to himself that he feels destined for more . . .

When Edward and Billy meet by chance in New York City and discover that they are long-lost twins, their lives are forever changed. Will the twin princes—“twinces”— be able to take on high school, coming out, and coronations together? Or will this royal reunion quickly become a royal disaster?

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