cover image The Royals Next Door

The Royals Next Door

Karina Halle. Berkley, $16 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-33419-5

This lighthearted romance from Halle (Bright Midnight) imagines the life of the civilian neighbor to a Prince Harry and Meghan Markle–inspired royal couple. Elementary school teacher Piper Evans has her hands full with work, an obnoxious and hard-to-avoid ex, and her mother, who has dependent and borderline personality disorders. She has no time for the rumors that British Prince Eddie and his glamorous African American wife, Monica Red, are moving to her small British Columbia island—until they and their entourage rent the house adjacent to hers. Most intriguing is Harrison Cole, the royal couple’s handsome, hard-ass bodyguard. Harrison is dedicated to his job and determined not to let his attraction to scatterbrained Piper distract him from his duty, but Piper, needing an outlet for all the pent-up angst in her life, meets his stern attitude with plenty of sass, and sparks fly. When the paparazzi catch wind of their relationship, Piper and Harrison become front-page news, jeopardizing Piper’s mother’s well-being and both of their careers. The improbable premise offers plenty of wish fulfilment, though the fun is somewhat marred by the handling of Piper’s mother’s mental illnesses, which are filtered through the burden they place on Piper. Still, the sparkling love story will appeal to fans of Jasmine Guillory. [em]Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary. (Aug.) [/em]