Since I posted an *ahem* less than favorable review of Karina Halle’s newest release, I thought it’d be a good day to talk about her summer release – which I loved! The Royals Next Door was a great rom com with heart, staying light yet also dealing with some difficult subjects. It doesn’t release until August 31st, but I’ve already read my ARC, and I’ve got a peek at my review below. Be sure to add this one to your TBR if you like heroine-driven romance… or mysterious British bodyguards!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Light and sweet
Softer and sweeter than her usual style, this slow-burning love story is the kind of low angst read that I love to dig into. While the first third leaned more towards chick lit – with a heavy focus on our heroine and her interactions with the royals next door – the book slowly transitions into a heartfelt love story that touches on some difficult subjects. It’s still a light, playful read overall, but there’s just enough emotion to give it some added depth. It’s heroine-driven, told exclusively from Piper’s perspective, which adds an air of mystery to our already broody hero. The more I got to know Harrison, the more I loved him – and that love had grown strong by the end. Who doesn’t love a kind, muscled, protective, British gentleman with plenty of tattoos? I certainly do! Harrison and Piper’s chemistry makes the back half of this rom com a sexy, engaging read.
The story follows Piper, a hot mess of a woman whose life is changed when royalty moves in next door – with plenty of security in tow. Think Harry and Meghan when they first moved across the pond, because this story is both familiar and different. As Piper clashes with the bodyguard in charge of the royals’ protection, the two find themselves getting closer. While Harrison is the strong, silent type, he also seems to enjoy spending time with Piper. The two get closer, and as Piper gains the confidence to put the pieces of her life back together, it’s Harrison who is always at her side.
It took around a third of the book for me to really get invested in the love story, though I was enjoying the royals storyline. The first act feels much more like chick lit, with a lighter, funnier vibe and a focus on the royals vs. the romance. That all changes in the back half, and that’s when this truly got my full attention. It goes from beach read to forbidden romance, and we get to know Harrison much better. It’s a slow-burning romance that pays off by the end, with a couple of very steamy scenes and some heart-melting intimacy. There’s discussion of mental health throughout, with more than one neurodiverse character and some complicated emotions. The romance-lover in me wanted a little more Harrison at the start, but the author does a great job of making this a well-rounded read. It held my attention from start to finish, and I was definitely loving it by the end. I received an early copy and am voluntarily leaving a review of this heartfelt rom com.
An ordinary summer goes royally awry when a prince and princess move next door, bringing their handsome bodyguard with them, from New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle.
Piper Evans: elementary school teacher by day–avid romance reader and anonymous podcaster by night. She has a quiet, reclusive life, taking care of her mother, who lives with mental illness, avoiding her regrettable ex, who bartends in town, and trying to make inroads in the tight-knit island community that still sees her, five years in, as an outsider.
And she’s happy with how things are–really–until British royals rent the property next to hers and their brooding bodyguard decides she’s a security threat. Piper quickly realizes that one person’s fairy tale is an ordinary woman’s nightmare as a media frenzy takes over the island and each run-in with Harrison Cole is hotter and more confusing than the last. But beneath Harrison’s no-nonsense exterior lies a soft heart, one that could tempt a woman who’s sworn off attachments into believing in white knights.
But when Piper finds herself smack in the middle of a royal scandal that rocks the island she’ll need more than Harrison’s strong arms to shield her–she’ll have to do a little rescuing herself. With careers, hearts, and friendships on the line, Piper and Harrison will have to decide what they’re willing to give up for a chance at their own happily ever after.
About the Author:
Karina Halle is a screenwriter, a former music & travel journalist, and the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of The Pact, A Nordic King, and Sins & Needles, as well as sixty other wild and romantic reads.
She, her musician husband, and their adopted pit bull, Bruce, live in a rainforest on an island off the coast of British Columbia, where they operate Raven Ridge, a B&B that’s perfect for writers’ retreats and romantic getaways.
In the winter, you can often find them in California or on their beloved island of Kauai, soaking up as much sun (and getting as much inspiration) as possible. For more information, visit www.authorkarinahalle.com/books.
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