Wit’s End October 29th
I missed last week because I was on the road. And when you’re on the road you don’t necessary want to read anything too heavy (emotionally, physically, whatever), right? Enter The Royal We recommended by my friend Kim (thanks Kim!). This novel, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, reimagines the royal romance of Kate and Wills with Kate as Rebecca from Ohio and the House of Windsor masquerading as the House of Lyons.
Rebecca, or Bex as she’s known, shows up as an exchange student at Oxford and straight away meets the handsome, dashing Prince Nick. So what that he’s a prince? He’s not her sovereign. Of course, Bex’s casual American ways captivate His Highness, a boy on the brink of manhood who has lived, by necessity, a sheltered existence with a cold father and a mysteriously absent mother.
As romance blossoms, Bex is drawn into Nick’s world and we get to go along for the ride, wide eyed and innocent. The authors do a nice job illustrating the frequent horrors of relationship lived out under the constant scrutiny of paparazzi. Our appetite for titillating tidbits about famous people is insatiable and this novel nicely reminds how this urge can compromise our most basic humanity.
There’s no shortage of dazzle and intrigue and excess. But there’s also a dark side and the mystery of Nick’s missing mother and these plot turns keeps the novel from becoming simply a voyeuristic stroll through unfamiliar terrain.
Ultimately, this is one woman’s journey to finding herself, served up with a life altering side of romance. If you were in the mood for fun, I’d give this one a go.
Bonus book! I recently read The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate for an elementary school book club. This breathtakingly beautiful novel is recommended for grades 3-7 but really it’s for everyone. Ivan the Gorilla narrates the story from behind the glass walls of his enclosure, a depressing cage in a shopping mall where he’s lived for decades with an elephant and a stray dog as his only companions. He’s accustomed to being stared at and, lately, ignored because he’s not really as cute as he once was.
Everything changes when a baby elephant arrives and Ivan finds himself desperate to make good on a promise to an old friend to free them from the mall. With an economy of words and tremendous spirit, Ivan illustrates the power of unexpected friendships and how hope and art can keep a soul alive in the most trying of times. This is really a remarkable book and you can finish it in an hour.