Format read: ebook received from the publisher through NetGalley
Release Date: 1 November 2012
Number of pages: 352 pages
Formats available: ebook
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s website, Amazon, Kindle, Book Depository
Bronte Talbott follows all of the exploits of the British royals. After all, they’re the world’s most preeminent dysfunctional family. And who is she to judge? Bronte’s own search for love isn’t going all that well, especially after her smooth-talking Texan boyfriend abruptly leaves her in the dust.
Bronte keeps a lookout for a rebound to help mend her broken heart, and when she meets Max Heyworth, she’s certain he’s the perfect transition man. But when she discovers he’s a duke, she has to decide if she wants to stay with him for the long haul and deal with the opportunities– and challenges– of becoming a royal.
Marlene: A Royal Pain was just that, an absolute pain to read. I hate to put it that way, but the pun is just right there waiting to be said. I finished because I said I would. And I was on an airplane and “what the heck”.
Stella: I’m sorry to say but I completely agree. *sighs* Which is even sadder since from the moment I read its blurb I was predisposed and predestined to love it, I mean it is my go-to fantasy the normal, ordinary girl meeting and falling for a handsome guy, who is later revealed is an aristocrat *dreamy sighs* So yes, I was so much looking forward to this book and not only it did not deliver but after 28% I realized I was skipping entire paragraphs because the pages just didn’t hold my interest and found the heroine so frustrating and irritating, that despite several forced attempts to keep on reading, after 60% I gave up, I just hated it, or rather the heroine so much. So all my respect and hats off to Marlene for persevering!
Marlene: This story had all the absolute worst hallmarks of chick-lit, and if I’d known it was chick-lit, I would have steered far, far away. Bronte Talbott is whiny and self-centered. She comes across as TSTL (that’s too stupid to live) on multiple occasions. Max is all too often her doormat, except for the times he gets completely fed up and throws a temper tantrum.
Stella: I wouldn’t have disqualified A Royal Pain based on the fact that it was chick lit, I’ve read some that were so entertaining and funny they remain my go-to comfort reads, but I completely agree as to your comments regarding the heroine. Since the story is told through her POV (even if it’s not 1st person narrative), the reader must feel a connection or at least be interested in the heroine’s story but Bronte was such a whining, bitchy, egotistical, shallow, immature, petulant heroine (and yes I could go on), behaving like a churlish adolescent most of the time feeling sorry for herself, that not only did I not feel any smypathy or connection with her I downright disliked and despised her (E.g. when she gets together with the dreamy hero, spend a whirlwind romance but they break up, she calls him after she finds out he’s a duke, so we have no idea if she had called him without that bit of information or if it was part of her motivation to reconnect). Oh and her constantly going on and on about how much she hated her father even though he has been dead for several years now and didn’t do anything exceptionally bad rubbed me the wrong way too. She acted as a whiny teen. She was an ungrateful, spoilt, moody and whiny heroine, who irritated me to no end I would have liked to slap her to make her snap out of her “me me me” egocentric world. Everyhting was only about her, she didn’t care about others they were just there to be her soundingboard, she didn’t give a damn about what was going on with her friends, mom, boss, she just wanted to unload her “problems” on them.
And another one of my problems regarding her character was that she was so crude, look at this scene where they are about to make love and Max confesses his love and proposes:
She wanted him so badly, her body wanted him so badly.
“Say it, Bron.” He was lying along the length of her back now, his voice so close to her ear, it was almost as if it was coming from the inside of her head.
“I’ll say anything, Max.”
“Say you’ll marry me, Bron.”
“Put it in, Max.”
“You have such a way with words, darling.”
“Please, put it in.”
Marlene: Their entire relationship is founded on an incredible lie of omission. Max hides his identity. This is kind of realistic, once you get past the idea that there’s a royal duke running around that no one has heard of, but when he gets mad at Bronte for not being willing to handle his first, but not last, ultimatum, he’s lost all credibility. Not that he had much.
Stella: I found Max a very two dimensional character (not that Bronte had more depth, but she definitely had more “screen time”), he was constantly described as incredibly handsome, warmhearted and the ideal dreamy hero, but not much beside that. He really was all that is considerate, enamored with the heroine (I found it happened way too soon, after weeks of glimpsing her he was already envisioning forever). I would have liked for his character to be better developed.
Marlene: The thing is, Bronte goes into the relationship with Max on the rebound. She tells him this. He’s only going to be in Chicago for 8 more weeks and then he’s going back to England. He never tells her that he’s planning for their relationship to be longer term, because she’s very gun-shy after the way her last relationship ended. (The fact that she was totally stupid about her last relationship notwithstanding).
Max has decided, and he never tells Bronte. In their last two or three days together, Max’ dad has a heart attack, and he has to leave instantly. Of course he does. But while he’s packing, he drops the bombshell that he wants a long-term relationship with Bronte and wants her to go with him to the UK. And if she doesn’t come with him, right now, she’ll never see him again.
Bronte is not a student. She’s a supposedly high-powered advertising exec of some kind. She could drop everything if they already were in a long-term relationship, but for someone who is supposedly just a fling, not if she wants to still have a career when she gets back. And whoever he is, he’s been lying to her. Not to mention, Bronte has some serious commitment issues.
Stella: Hm, I really can’t keep it short if I go into discussing their relationship because I found it completely unbelievable, unrealistic and phony (and not the part of the hero being a duke, but the normal dynamics of their relationship). But regarding that “big” break up point of Max being under shock that his dad was going to die, and he clearly tells Bronte that he is lost and needs her, the person he loves to be with him during this hard time, and that she just says no I found that completely heartless. And interesting how we see this scene completely differently Marlene, because for me when Max asks her to go with him, I understood it as he needed her support during this heartbreaking time and not an immediate answer for the HEA-until-we-die-part. And speaking of Bronte’s job, cue the eyeroll. She is a successful ad exec and she uses her boss and potential top client as her BF/shrink? Tearing up and chatting about her breakup when they are meeting for a business talk?! Talk about unprofessional.
Marlene: It went downhill from there. Both mother-in-laws were shrews of various breeds (of course they were. they always are). They break up once, and nearly fall apart at least one more time. And all of the problems revolve around Bronte’s issues and Max’s high-handedness. That and the expectation that they should read each other’s minds. Spare me.
Stella: Yeah, I couldn’t connect or be interested in their romance either as Bronte and her stupidity just drove me up the wall.
Marlene: I did not like these people. The author didn’t make me care what happened to them, or whether they resolved their problems. Or even whether they ever saw each other again. My iPad is too expensive to bang against the wall, which is the only thing that saved this one from being a wallbanger. Or a bulkhead-banger, since I was on an airplane at the time I read it.
I give A Royal Pain 1 star.
Stella: If it isn’t clear by now, I’ll repeat it once more: I very much disliked A Royal Pain. I hated the heroine and found the way the plot twists and turns were executed immature, the writing didactic and thus irritating, and couldn’t care for the heroine’s romance, because I actually was rooting against her. I know it’s a sacrilege of the romance genre, but I didn’t want her to find her HEA with such a nice guy. He deserved much much better than her. So no, A Royal Pain was truly a torture to get through, and in the end, I couldn’t do it…
I also give A Royal Pain 1 star and I’m still looking for that perfect oridnary-girl-meets-love-of-her-life-aristocrat-contemporary-romance, so if you have read such, please let me know!