When I started the first book in the series, I was unaware that the characters already had a history in the form of other books by the author. This crucial point escaped me somehow when I was looking at the blurb before picking it up.
It is not a very strong sticking point because all three books in this series focus exclusively on one couple and their issues.
The best part about it was the elaboration on the course that the lead couple’s life takes during different stages of their ‘togetherness’; this felt quite realistic and made this an enjoyable collection.
The first book of the series is a predictable, mild adversaries to lovers trope. It is, however, well done and had me cheering on Princess Arabella and Will as they navigated treacherous terrain (both literal and figurative).
The two characters come from vastly different backgrounds and have different things to prove, and the stakes are certainly not the same. This first instalment is all about the setup and eventual getting together, which forms the foundation that the rest of the series focuses on. There were some unexpected scenes, and the way the ‘quest’ ended is slightly different from the norm.
The author’s writing was light while maintaining the gravity of the personal issues that all the characters have to bear within their personal and professional lives.
The second instalment uses the budding relationship between Will and Arabella and throws all the complications of real life at them. Arabella has to participate in her role of a royal from a fictitious country, and Will has to salvage his career unless he wants to live off of Arabella’s family. The biggest issue in this book is the show’s airing that was shot while the two were trekking through the jungle and falling for each other. There are a lot of surprises (none of them good) for them.
The concept of a reality show coupled with the severe dignity required from Arabella is drawn out pretty starkly. I felt mighty uncomfortable for her, given the way her one impulsive decision has complicated her already complex life. The icing on the cake is supposed to be her new relationship, but very few people seem to agree that this is a reasonable idea. Even Will’s crazy online fans steal the show with their manic commentary. The idea of interspersing the narrative with Newscasters squabbling and online chats does raise the humour level.
Finally, in the third instalment, there is a wedding in the offing. Now that there is an official name to the relationship, Will has to manage to adhere to similar rules that Arabella is used to. This includes but is not limited to bodyguards and dance lessons. The author quite succinctly puts together the tension of two families meeting and the pressure to please and ensure everything goes smoothly and, most importantly, everyone is happy (an almost impossible task at the best of times). There is a tension of a different sort here as well as understandable quarrels, but there is a happily ever after, which makes it worth it. This last bit is not a spoiler, given the genre.
The author injects humour into quite a lot of scenes, and I really enjoyed her style of storytelling. I would definitely recommend this series and the author to anyone on the lookout for a light read with some heavier undertones and a HEA.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.