I very much anticipated the release of Royally Matched by Emma Chase. First, because I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series Royally Screwed, and second, because it consisted of a reality dating show premise. As a proud member of Bachelor nation, I’m always looking for a book equivalent of a #bachelorfix.
Some men are born responsible, some men have responsibility thrust upon them. Henry John Edgar Thomas Pembrook, Prince of Wessco, just got the motherlode of all responsibility dumped in his regal lap.
He’s not handling it well.
Hoping to help her grandson to rise to the occasion, Queen Lenora agrees to give him “space”—but while the Queen’s away, the Prince will play. After a chance meeting with an American television producer, Henry finally makes a decision all on his own:
Welcome to Matched: Royal Edition.
A reality TV dating game show featuring twenty of the world’s most beautiful blue bloods gathered in the same castle. Only one will win the diamond tiara, only one will capture the handsome prince’s heart.
While Henry revels in the sexy, raunchy antics of the contestants as they fight, literally, for his affection, it’s the quiet, bespectacled girl in the corner—with the voice of an angel and a body that would tempt a saint—who catches his eye.
The more Henry gets to know Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum, the more enamored he becomes of her simple beauty, her strength, her kind spirit… and her naughty sense of humor.
But Rome wasn’t built in a day—and irresponsible royals aren’t reformed overnight.
As he endeavors to right his wrongs, old words take on whole new meanings for the dashing Prince. Words like, Duty, Honor and most of all—Love.
I have mixed feelings about Royally Matched. I really enjoyed it. It was a sweet romance with witty banter and funny inner dialogue, which is what I’ve come to expect from Emma. I LOVED the name-dropping and literature talk throughout the novel. Anyone who loves Jane Austen will love the literary tie-ins throughout the book.
However, it was the reality dating show premise that fell incredibly flat for me. It was almost an afterthought, in the background, instead of adding tension to the plot. Granted, it may have been more important to me since I was excited about that particular element in the synopsis, but I couldn’t help but wish that Emma could have changed it up. Why not throw Sarah in the running? Why did she have to be in the background skulking about? It was almost unjust that the shy, introverted book nerd was forced to look on instead of participating.
The ending confused me as well. It was abrupt and a bit absurd. The main obstacle of the entire novel was washed away with one conversation and suddenly Henry wanted to do something that wasn’t mentioned at any other point in the book. In fact, what he did at the end was a little cruel and unusual if you ask me.
Regardless of my criticisms, I read the book in one sitting and I plan to read the next book in the series Royally Endowed, which will be released in June 2017 (sooner than I thought!). After reading book two, Royally Screwed is still my favorite by far.
STARS: 3 out of 5