hello, Sunshines, I am delighted to be sharing my review of; The Reluctant Royal by Eleanor Harkstead and Catherine Curzon. I can’t wait to share it with you all.

About the Book

The Reluctant Royal by Eleanor Harkstead & Catherine Curzon.

Genre: Romantic Thriller, Gay Romance

As an unseen enemy draws near, a royal bodyguard must choose between duty and love.

Risking his life to save a princess is all in a day’s work for Sergeant Joe Wenlock, a Close Protection Officer detailed to protect the royal family. After months of recovery following his brush with death, Joe’s ready to return to duties. But Alejandro Fuente-Sastre, as infuriating as he is fabulous, is the last royal Joe wants to be assigned to.

Alejandro isn’t quite the sort of queen that the British royal family is used to, but when Joe learns that Her Majesty’s step-grandson is also drag bombshell Paloma Picante, it makes his job a whole lot tougher. But is there more to Alejo than sulking and sequins?

When Alejandro’s life is threatened by an unseen tormentor who progresses from internet trolling to arson and violence, Joe must keep his charge safe from harm.

Living in close quarters with the man he shouldn’t be falling for, Joe begins to discover his true self. But as Alejandro’s enemy prowls ever nearer, Joe must make the impossible choice between duty and love.

Reader advisory: This book contains instances of homophobia and homophobic language, cyberbullying and threats, harassment, terrorism, drug use and abuse, Islamophobia and suicide. There are mentions of domestic abuse, including physical, emotional and gaslighting. 

Review

I have been an avid reader of Curzon’s and Hartstead’s work, right from the start and I always get very excited whenever I pick up a new book by the dynamic duo, anyone who follows the blog regularly knows – I think – how much I love Catherine Eleanor’s work. But – and I hate to say this I feel awful even thinking it – The Reluctant Royal felt a little flat compared to their previous books.

I felt something was missing – I can’t put my finger on it, but the old sparkle which we loyal readers love so much seemed to be lacking, yet despite that, I did enjoy it – I can’t say I loved it but it is jolly good fun, it’s an escapism from the real world which is exactly what we have all needed.

The Reluctant Royal is part serious suspense and part romantic comedy, I liked the combination of the two, I did feel it was far more tongue in cheek comedy than the romantic suspense it was supposed to be and I think more time could have been spent on the big question of the plot of ‘Who is Leviticus?’ but, then again I did guess the identity pretty sharpish – as soon as my first suspect had been hung drawn and quartered and dismissed as nothing but a bully. Which has nothing to do with the writing, but more of the fact that I watch far too many detective shows and tend to suspect everyone. But, even I was surprised not only that I guessed correctly but at who it was who was behind all the threats towards Alejo.

I will admit that I was in two frames of mind, which believe me this is very unusual for me when it comes to these authors books, but there were some elements of the overall story which didn’t work for me. The relationship between Alejo and Joe seemed very rushed, for some reason they didn’t work as a couple for me. I think that they worked better as good friends who understand the other than they did as a couple which seems a shame as they did have huge potential, but for me, it was how fast everything happened between Joe and Alejo – a slower more sedate pacing would have been better as that way they could have gotten to know each other properly.

I loved them as individuals though, Joe is gay and I think there is a lot of confusion for him at accepting who he is and being honest about the fact he likes men, he is in a loveless marriage of convenience with a selfish career-minded woman, I felt there was a lot of unhappiness in Joe’s life and that did tug at the heartstrings. Whereas Alejo knows who he is and is more than happy within his skin and in the skin of his other persona as drag queen Paloma – who in my opinion is the star of the entire book, this glamorous exotic and talented creature who dazzles Joe and the reader, I do wish Paloma was used more through the story.

Apart from the romance between Joe and Alejo I liked the suspense element of the entire plot, the intrigue behind the threats to Alejo’s life. The homophobic abuse, the attacks and the online trolling are all written with the utmost care and sensitivity of a very relevant subject and I would have liked a little more depth to that part of the story.

Overall, The Reluctant Royal isn’t the greatest love story, but it is fun and flirty and very tongue in cheek. It reminds me of a Carry On film – a jolly fun romp that doesn’t take itself too seriously but can be enjoyed by all.

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