cover image Playing the Palace

Playing the Palace

Paul Rudnick. Berkley, $16 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-0-593-09941-4

The latest camp riff from Rudnick (It’s All Your Fault) picks up the royal romance tropes laid down by Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue and turns them into pegs upon which to hang the fluffiest of narrative shtick. New York City event planner Carter Ogden meets and falls for Edgar, the crown prince of Britain, at an event—but despite this high concept premise, the story is light on both romance and politics. In fact, there’s little plot at all. Narrator Carter is less a romantic hero than a stand-up comedian who moves from an IHOP on 14th Street to the United Nations to Buckingham Palace as scenario after scenario is sketched to showcase his self-absorbed, neurotic, and, yes, funny extended monologue about being gay, Jewish, and lovelorn. The improbable love interest, Edgar, is an earnest and well-executed foil for Carter’s hyperbolic breathlessness. But a wedding at the end doth not a romance make, and readers will enjoy the performance much more if they frame their expectations in terms of an updated Seinfeld script. Readers may not swoon, but they’re sure to laugh out loud. A[em]gent: David Kuhn, Aevitis Creative Management. (May) [/em]