If you were enchanted by the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry and you’ve picked this up looking for an authentic-style royal romance, forget it. There is nothing remotely resembling royal protocol in this book. Thorne’s father renounced his claim to the throne of ‘Torino’ where apparently the locals speak French, despite the Italian name - and left for the US. Now his brother is dead and there is no other heir, so… his middle son has to take the throne? Due to some complicated ‘inheritance laws’ that were never really defined, but apparently meant the incoming king has to be unmarried.
So far, so fantastical. However, things get even more complicated, because Thorne’s family are very big businesspeople in Boston, Mafia-connected through his mother, and currently feuding with the Valentine family, of whom Torino’s former queen is a member. So Thorne has to marry one of the Valentine daughters, and chooses Nova, who is basically ‘the quiet one’ in a family of crooks. Somehow she got to the age of twenty-seven without even having been kissed, and yet on their - I think it’s third? - meeting, Thorne is doing her up against a tree in the royal cemetery.
There is lots of sex in this one, and it’s probably the best part of the book, being well-written, realistic and hot. Everything else is just unbelievable when it’s not downright wrong, the worst example of this being Nova having a mysterious scar on her lower stomach which turns out to be from a kidney transplant.
Let me repeat that. A KIDNEY transplant leaving a scar on the STOMACH? Not unless Nova is an alien with some very different internal organ layout to humans. Kidneys are at the BACK of the body and a transplant would leave a scar on one side of your lower BACK. Someone who has suffered chronic kidney failure like Nova (and the donor, who is also in this book and obviously left with one kidney) would not be able to drink alcohol, either, and the champagne, wine and cocktails being swigged back by all and sundry don’t exclude these two.
I can tolerate a lot in a romance which is clearly a fantasy in the author’s head, but wildly inaccurate medical information isn’t one of those things. It tipped this book over the line from ‘entertaining nonsense’ to ‘utter rubbish’, and there’s really no coming back from that. Two stars.
Royally Arranged is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.