Erryn reviews ‘A Right Royal Affair’ by Helen Juliet. The ebook was published May 27, 2018 and was 322 pages.The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Kieran Flitton, released February 5, 2020 and is 9 hrs and 16 mins long. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I’m always game to try a new author.
Theo Glass used to believe that love was just a fairy tale. Orphaned and disowned by his homophobic stepfamily, he and his grandma make ends meet as best they can. But when his grandma’s tireless charity work is honored, Theo makes sure he spends his last pennies to get her to the palace, hosted by none other than the gorgeous Prince James himself.
James is sixth in line to the throne of the United Kingdom and a disappointment to just about everyone. He never felt at home at school, on the rugby pitch, or even in the army. Being royalty means he’s been forced to keep a lid on his bisexuality. But when he meets Theo at the honors ceremony, he knows he’s in serious trouble.
Needing to find purpose, James convinces Theo to use his charity event savvy to throw a fundraiser ball in a secluded castle. All James has to do is behave himself around the sassy twink. But soon, the chemistry between them is too strong to resist.
Their lives are too different, and there’s no chance James can come out as the first prince of the United Kingdom with a boyfriend. But James knows if he doesn’t show Theo how much he means to him, he’ll lose him forever.
Can love conquer all? Or is that something just for fairy tales?
A Right Royal Affair is a steamy, stand-alone MM romance novel featuring a pack of unruly royal terriers, a romantic ball, feisty swans, a wicked stepfather, and a guaranteed HEA with absolutely no cliff-hanger.
I’m always willing to try a new author, and I’m extra-glad I picked up this book by Helen Juliet. The book is set in an alternate timeline when the Queen still reigns in England, but her son, the Prince of Wales, is happily married with three grown children. The firstborn son and heir has dutifully married, and has welcomed two sons. He and his wife are happy, comfortable in their royal roles. There is a daughter, Livy, who likes to buck traditions. She wears what she wants, and is marrying a black man whom she loves deeply. Shades of anything from today, perchance? Except this man is from the upper echelons of British society instead of a divorced American actress. Again, another world.
Finally there is James. He’s a dutiful son and sixth in line to the throne. Barring any major disasters, he’s not destined to rule Great Britain and that’s just fine with him. He’s struggled with his sexuality for years, knowing that coming out of the closet isn’t even within the realm of possibilities. Then he catches an attractive man skulking around a private area of Buckingham Palace and all bets are off.
Theo is, frankly, living close to the poverty line. He lives with his grandmother who gives all her time and money to LGBT youth charities. Her generosity knows no bounds – except that of their income. More money would mean helping more kids, but they are just scraping by. An invitation for a ceremony where his grandmother will be honored comes at a time when Theo wants to treat his grandmother but it’ll stretch his budget to do it. But he owes this woman everything and will find a way to make the day special. The bond between grandmother and grandson is strong and powerful. I was a bit in love with Theo’s grandmother, glad she was there to support and love her gay grandson.
So when Theo is caught red-handed with one of the royal Yorkie dogs, he’s defensive and certainly not deferential to the arrogant prince. Theo wasn’t trying to steal, just trying to keep the dog from causing problems and getting hurt. James, who is attracted to Theo, jumps to the worst conclusion and things go off the rails from there.
Later that day, James shows up at Theo’s house and proposes they work together. A charity ball to raise money for various charities including the one Theo’s grandmother supports. Knowing this could elevate the profile of the charity, and bring in much needed funds, Theo agrees. He’s still leery of the rich and handsome and straight prince. Why would he pick Theo? There are many people way more qualified. But Theo puts on his big boy pants and heads to the castle, willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.
The attraction between Theo and James is palpable, but a relationship is impossible, right? If anything is going to happen, it will be up to the prince to make the first move. With the support of those around him, but not necessarily his mother, James puts himself out there, hoping Theo will meet him halfway. And when he confesses something no one else knows, man I was pulled in and so was Theo. For a powerful man to make himself vulnerable…what’s not to love?
But the path to true love isn’t easy, as you can imagine. There are obstacles including a Swedish princess (whom I adored), a meddling mother, and societal expectations. For instance, being sixth in the line of succession means the Queen has to approve of the marriage partner. James loves his grandmother and she him, but to approve of a gay relationship? A gay marriage? Too much to contemplate, right?
I loved that this book didn’t offer up easy answers. The men had to work to their happy ending, even losing a diamond-covered Converse in the process (shades of Cinderella, anyone?). I also loved that the men had to fight for their relationship. The struggle made things more realistic and drew me in even further into the story. Have I said I loved the book?
Kieran Flitton is a new narrator to me, and I have to say I enjoyed his performance. He hit just the right tone for the book, giving perfect voices for each of the men. I also liked his portrayal of the women. Top notch performance. I can highly recommend this book if you’re looking for something akin to a modern fairy tale with castles and moats, five exuberant Yorkshire terriers, a cheerleader sister, a loving grandmother, and two great men.
9/10 Pots of Gold – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Helen Juliet is an M/M author currently living and working in London. She’s been writing stories since she was young, and got her start publishing fanfiction of sites like Wattpad. Fifteen years and over a million words later, she discovered the world of M/M fiction and found it was just as good as the fanfiction she was reading. She fell head over heels in love with the genre and became determined to try her hand at a book herself. On December 31st, 2016, she rang in the new year by publishing her first original novel, and hasn’t looked back since.