Contemporary, Fiction

The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Sequel to The Royal We (spoilers ahead)

I’ve found myself reading quite a bit of fiction this summer which is rare for me! Nonfiction readers don’t fear, running the Nonfiction Book Club means that there will always be lots of nonfiction on my reading list! But I loved The Royal We so when I first found out a sequel was in the works last OCTOBER, I knew I had to get my hands on an early copy. After a great deal of drama with the publisher, it finally arrived about a month before publication. But despite it’s late arrival, I gobbled it up and I loved it.

Synopsis

From the publisher marketing:
After a scandalous secret turns their fairy-tale wedding into a nightmare, Rebecca “Bex” Porter and her husband Prince Nicholas are in self-imposed exile. The public is angry. The Queen is even angrier. And the press is salivating. Cutting themselves off from friends and family, and escaping the world’s judgmental eyes, feels like the best way to protect their fragile, all-consuming romance.

But when a crisis forces the new Duke and Duchess back to London, the Band-Aid they’d placed over their problems starts to peel at the edges. Now, as old family secrets and new ones threaten to derail her new royal life, Bex has to face the emotional wreckage she and Nick left behind: with the Queen, with the world, and with Nick’s brother Freddie, whose sins may not be so easily forgotten — nor forgiven.

Review

I knew almost immediately that I was going to love The Heir Affair – the whole thing opens with Bex and Nick hiding out (after the media storm surrounding their wedding) in the small Scottish town of Wigtown, staying at the B&B above Open Book. While this probably doesn’t inspire delighted squeals of joy from most, other than the fact that it sounds cool, Open Book is run as a companion to Book Shop, owned and operated by Shaun Bythell, author of Diary of a Bookseller and Confessions of a Bookseller, two memoirs that offer remarkable insight into my chosen profession. So as a bookseller, I got really excited about Bex and Nick’s chosen hide out in Scotland.

But that was just the very beginning. With a gap of just more than five years (an eternity in publishing time) between the release of The Royal We and The Heir Affair, Heather and Jessica knew they’d have to give readers a bit of time to play catch up with Nick and Bex and they do a tremendous job easing readers back into their lives and rehashing the events of The Royal We. The bulk of The Heir Affair takes place in the two years immediately following The Royal We, and as both are set in “real time,” it’s kind of fun to be transported back to 2016 in the book, before the dumpster fire of 2020.

Eventually, as they must, Nick and Bex return to the firm (no Meghan & Harry cut and run here), and are reunited with friend and foe alike, from Nick’s brother Freddie and Bex’s twin sister Lacey, the brothers’ taciturn father, to the centenarian queen mum obsessed with Idris Elba, and all their friends (one of whom is obsessed with getting onto a GBBO inspired baking show), it is refreshing to be reunited with so many favorite characters.

After the expected roughish patch between Bex & Nick, and the two of them and the family, the book moves along at a decent clip through time until “the heir affair” takes center stage. With everything Bex and Nick have been through, there was no way this was going to be smooth sailing. But Heather & Jessica present their situation with so much kindness and empathy that I found myself bawling my eyes out at certain parts (I don’t want to spoil anything, but you’ll know pretty quickly which scenes I mean).

While The Royal We delved into the melodramatic soap opera type of story pretty quickly, The Heir Affair is not nearly as over dramatic until the last hundred pages or so where a secret is revealed about now deceased members of the royal family and has a potentially devastating effect on the future heirs. It gets a little trite, especially when, by this point, we really just want to see a happy ending, but Heather and Jessica handle their chosen curveball well. I walked away from The Heir Affair enjoying it more than The Royal We and I think it will become a favorite of anyone who chooses to pick it up as well.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Where to Buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through BookShop or your local independent, in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon.

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