Oh boy. Let’s get right to it.
Dating The Prince by Alina Snow
Small-town girl, Katie O’Connor has always dreamed of seeing her name in lights. Check the box for fame, a movie deal, the perfect leading role that comes with a gorgeous leading man! Katie moved to Hollywood, elbows her way into auditions, lives on a shoestring budget—whatever is required to land a deal, she throws her heart into… until she’s involved in a royal kidnapping.
As the future king, Prince Alexander refuses to rule from an ivory tower. Duty-bound, he intends to relate to his future subjects, regardless of their walk of life. Before his coronation, he needs a foolproof plan to outrun his security team and go temporarily AWOL. While visiting L.A., all it takes is a sound stage collision and Alex is blindsided by a headstrong woman who is simply irresistible. So much so, he calls in a favor in order to secure her help … as his pretend girlfriend.
Their worlds are oceans apart, but their immediate attraction is impossible to put aside, especially their nonstop banter. Miffed at being wrangled into a situation that might blow up in her face, Katie comes up with her own plan. If The Prince is serious about walking the walk of the common folk, she’s only too happy to oblige as his pretend girlfriend. Through an ice storm, a road trip, kitchen duty, and a Texas pig race, Alex captures the hearts of the locals as well as Ms. O’Connor’s.
What starts out as a deal Katie can’t refuse becomes the acting role of a lifetime… letting Prince Alexander go without a fight.
A delightfully funny retelling of The Prince and The Pauper that romance readers of all ages will enjoy. On a two-week 1,500-mile road trip, Katie and Alex discover the end of the road might just be the beginning of their ‘Happy Ever After’ together.
Series: What If, #1
Review: 2 butterflies
This book had an interesting premise, and especially with the whole Meghan Markle and Prince Harry thing, it’s a great time to launch a “American girl meets British royalty and falls in love” type of book. That said, I think this book didn’t really hit the mark.
Katie is this hard-working girl who has dreamt of becoming an actress her whole life. So much so, that her parents sacrificed all they could to get her into the top schools and programs to help her chosen career. She’s on a game show as one of those model girls who hold suitcases or boxes (like Meghan Markle in the beginning of her career!) when she bumps into Alex—The Prince of England. She doesn’t recognize him because she doesn’t have her glasses on, but she catches his eye and he wants to see her again.
This begins an awkward game where he manipulates her boss into letting her work for him, temporarily, so he can get to know her and so he can be “a normal person” for a while. I loved her spark and her protests about how he doesn’t know how to help her in her world. I rooted for her actually standing up for herself. She leaves, but of course that only makes Alex want her more (there’s nothing like a girl giving you clear signs that she doesn’t consent that make a guy want to force her into a situation, amirite?) Unfortunately, this is where the problems begin for me. First, I hate it when people in power manipulate elements so that the person they’re pursuing can’t help but say yes. This isn’t consent, nor is it ethical. Second, I feel like the author knows absolutely nothing about the Royal Family. Throughout the whole book, Alex did or said things that wouldn’t be possible in the real world, or if they were, they’d have a lot more consequences than they did in the book. (Also, the British Royal Family doesn’t have as much power over the government as the book makes it seem, but that’s just me being picky.) I know this is a book, but some of these things were incredibly absurd and took me immediately out of my enjoyment of the book.
Alex hires her to be his guide, but that’s only a ruse so that he can escape his bodyguards and she can teach him how to be a normal, every-day kind of man. Obviously, Katie protests and says this is ridiculous, but she’s smart and makes him sign a contract. Once she’s giving him a makeover, she hides it and he literally tries looking for it to tear it up! Like, WTF?! You agreed to this and it’s the least you could do so this woman doesn’t get in trouble for KIDNAPPING THE PRINCE, and he wants to be able to find the contract and rip it up?! Ugh.
Anyway, then they head to her hometown—because why not—and embark on this journey of trying to help her dad win the election for sheriff. Because that makes sense.
During the whole thing, they start to fall in love and then he proposes. She doesn’t hesitate to say yes, which concerns me a lot, because she has a whole career and dream that she’s throwing away. And because he’s The Prince, she would have to give up her life to be with him (à la Meghan Markle). Which is a valid choice to make when you love someone, but she was literally so passionate about this that her parents saved and she moved from her hometown in Texas and she was about to get her big break and she doesn’t even think about all of this—her life—before saying yes to Alex.
And then we go to England. If you feel like a lot has happened, I would agree. I think this book could’ve been divided into at least two books because so much happens and then there’s still a lot more left to go. Instead of giving the last section of the book the time it deserved, the author sped through it to be able to finish the book.
The Queen acts like a spoilt brat the whole time (which, again, I feel like wouldn’t happen in real life like that—it’d be a lot more stealthy and subtle) and then in the last chapter she’s like “ope, I was wrong, sorry.” Which just felt so unrealistic to me.
One last thing—when Katie realizes she’d be The Queen (because the current Queen is letting Alex take over) she bolts because she realizes that she wouldn’t ever be free and a glimmer of hope rises in me. Finally, she’s come to her senses and realized that giving up her hopes and dreams of being an actress shouldn’t be given up with no thought to them. But after Alex’s coronation, he realizes that she’s gone and orders that the plane not take off and boards the plane to convince her to stay. She takes two seconds—TWO SECONDS—to think “hmm, maybe this won’t be as bad as I had thought” and then tells him that yes, she’s staying and that she’s for real this time and that she loves him. It made me yell out in frustration.
This book isn’t bad. But there were a lot of unbelievable things that kicked me out of enjoying the book, and a lot of unrealistic circumstances that kept me out of enjoying the book. I feel like this book is one that you’d have to suspend your belief for in order to enjoy it, and maybe pretend that it happened in an alternate universe where people’s actions don’t have the consequences you think they should.
If you’re looking for a book more akin to Fifty Shades, where the woman has less agency than desired and the man is on a bit of a power trip, this is the book for you.