My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Finally I found some time to write this review. Thing is, this book stole my heart and my breath. And without a heart and oxygen, writing reviews can get tricky.
So I’ll try to analyze it very logically. Otherwise, I fear it would end up being a ranty rant, with no real order behind it.
Style: amazeballs. Funny, entertaining, but with feelings gliding like undercurrents in every section and paragraph.
Characters: Henry: Oh my.. my unruly prince, terrified by the idea of disappointing those who rely on him (which is a whole freaking country!). At first, when he accepted to star in the reality show, I got a little confused. It didn’t seem like something which would bring him any clarity. Still, I loved his character. How confident he was with Sarah, how he was the one taking control, but at the same time how surprisingly sweet and adorable. He cherished her feelings above everything else. Plus, he’s swoony as hell (and plays the guitar. I may or may not have a thing for guitarists…). There were a couple moment I simply had to put down the book and let my bosom heave like in some ’80s historical romance because I couldn’t take the feelings.
Sarah: blue-stocking librarian with a traumatic past. She’s fragile, beyond fragile, but it was humbling to see her draw confidence from her friendship and afterwards love story with Henry. She’s undoubtedly one of my favorite heroines ever. It’s so easy to relate, with the way she loves books, is quiet and at times a push over, with her quirks and fears. But also with the unwavering loyalty and fierceness with which she protected her sister. I loved the idea of her having PTSD from what had happened in her past, and how Henry was always so considerate and protective of her. She was his balance, the quiet sea to his stormy weather. Ground him while he freeing her.
Plot: the idea of the reality show was funny as hell, and fortunately didn’t hinder Sarah and Henry’s romance. After the initial introduction, it took the background so that we could get more of our couple. Still, it was perfect to create that blend of drama and humor Chase is so great at crafting. The pace was fast and the final plot twist put a smile on my face while shocking me at the same time, because it showed how much Sarah had changed for the better, going from shying away from the spotlight, full of fear, to taking chances and putting herself out there.
Hotness level: At first I was worried, because we all know the clause concerning the v-card of future Queens in Wessco. I feared we wouldn’t get to the nookie part until the very end. Instead, I loved how their romance developed and the slow burn was simmering and wonderfully executed. When they finally did it (which was not in the very end, I assure you)… well, let me tell you it made up for all the previous lack of it. (Am I the only one with a fetish for libraries?)
Overall opinion: as you may have guessed, my opinion is ecstatic. This book was amazing. I thought no one could top Olivia and Nicholas, but Henry and Sarah were off the charts terrific. On the one hand, we have a troubled, tortured prince with a passion for music and women, brought to his knees by a sweet, caring, shy bookworm. On the other hand we have said bookworm opening herself up to love for the first time, trusting a man known for his sex-capades and who will teach her what living really means.
All this encased in a frame of amazing supporting characters (I want a book or a novella about Franny!), scandals and gossips, a bit of angst and some groveling too. Let me tell you, I’m not a fan of grand gestures (hence why I hated Tangled), but Henry gives good grovel (I’m not going to spoil it, but his grovel was so on point and personal, even though public, that melted me right to my bones.)
Would I recommend it? Hell, if I could afford it, I’d make hardbacks of this book rain on the city for everyone to read. Hands down one of the swooniest, funnier and just perfect-est stories I’ve read so far in 2017. This is one absolute re-read.