Mills & Boon, £3.49, ISBN 978-0-263-89090-7
Contemporary Romance, 2012
A Royal World Apart is a bodyguard romance. It plays out pretty much how we all expect it to. Now, you can argue category romances are churned out like fast food of the romance genre, to be read and quickly forgotten by readers, and hence, there is little room for originality or even innovation. When an author has to put out a book every few months, who has the time to belabor over something that clocks in less than 200 pages as if it’s bloody War and Peace, right? I get that, I understand that, actually, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m kind of bored reading this one.
Princess Evangeline Drakos of Kyonos, one of those countries in the Mediterranean that exist solely to allow for the creation of royalty main characters when the authors have had their limit of Greek and Italian arsehole tycoons, is not happy because her entire life has been mapped out for her, and all paths lead to an arranged political marriage pushed hard by her control freak father onto her in a matter of months. Thus far, she tries to delay the inevitable by getting involved in shocking scandals like… running away from her bodyguards to play at the casino tables. Yes, that will scare off her suitors! What a darling. Even back in the 1990s, princesses were putting out sex tapes and what not, so Eva is such a ninny.
Her escapades are giving the boss of her bodyguards, Mikhail Gorbachev… oops, Mikhail Nabatov a headache, and he eventually decides to guard the Princess’s body himself after having to fire another bodyguard for losing her to the crowd. Guess what happens. Oh, and he is a widower who will never loved again because, oops, dead wife, and besides, she’s a shallow, spoiled princess until he’s attracted to her, and then she’s a misunderstood little birdy that he’d shag but heaven forbid that he’d marry her or anything because he will die if he ever loves again, blah blah blah, I am so bored.
Boring and predictable story and characters aside, this one actually isn’t too bad. For a Modern story, there is no toxic cruelty or misogyny here, and that’s an automatic three oogie rating from me because I love my blood pressure more than I love being objective and fair in my reviews. Eva’s escapade isn’t tinged with recklessness or stupidity, if I can overlook the fact that her very idea of “scandalous behavior” is a total facepalm for me, and I can understand why she feels the way she does. Meanwhile, Mikhail is what he is, not really cruel or abusive, just… boring.
But what really irks me about this one is how the author just sweeps all the issues under the rug for the happy ending. After all the whining about her destiny being premeditated for her and how she just can’t get out of the arranged marriage thing, Eva just walks up to her father and tells her she doesn’t want to marry that man; she’d like to marry Mikhail instead, and that’s it. After pages after pages of being a control freak who must be obeyed, her father apparently… agrees? Does this mean that the entire story occurs just because two people can’t talk earlier? Is the author joking? I feel like I’ve wasted my time reading this story.
Oh well. Still, here’s a Modern story that doesn’t make me feel as if all my teeth are pulled out with a pliers, so all is still fine in the land.