Book Review: Majesty (American Royals #2)

I love reading, but there have been years in my life where I haven’t done much of it because I was too hung up on just reading “good” or “serious” books. But no more. Reading is a respite for me, and sometimes, retreating into light hearted fiction or a throw-away “airport” book is exactly what I need. In the last year, I have started just reading what I feel like reading and stopped trying to justify my choices–because truly, no one cares what I read. Sometimes it is narrative nonfiction–sometimes it is contemporary fiction, and sometimes, like today, it is fun, young adult fiction.

*I was very excited to received an ARC of “Majesty.” Thank you Random House!*

I really enjoyed “American Royals”until I got to the end–and realized that it was just the first installment in a series and was ending on a cliff hanger! The general premise of the series is that America never became a Democratic Republic and, instead, remained a monarchy. The series follows Princess Beatrice (next in line for the throne), Princess Samantha (the spare that becomes the heir), and Prince Jefferson (the handsome prince) and their friends (and sometimes significant others) as they navigate finding love while constantly in the public eye. If “Gossip Girl” and “Princess Diaries” had a love child–this series would be it.

“Majesty” picks up where “American Royals” left off. The King has passed away and Beatrice is now the first Queen of America to rule in her own right. She is left to decide if she wants to continue her relationship with Connor and call off her wedding to Teddy (Duke of Boston) or set aside love and do what is best for her country. Meanwhile, the Prince, Princess, and their friends work to sort out their own love lives–and we meet a new character along the way.

When I finished “American Royals” I was sure that I knew the direction that McGee planned to take the series, but I was both assuredly wrong and pleasantly surprised. There were more than a few unexpected twists and turns. This light and breezy YA novel doesn’t disappoint–until of course you realize you have to wait for the third installment.

5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: “A Well-Behaved Woman A Novel of the Vanderbilts”

Having recently read a couple of Fowler’s books, I was excited to discover this 2018 book about Alva Vanderbilt. I went into the book thinking that Alva Vanderbilt was only interested in social standing and extravagant homes. Even though the book is a work of fiction, it really altered my opinion of Alva for the better.

Alva lived in a time where women had few options. She may have married for money, but that was what was done at the time. She masterfully maneuvered the Vanderbilts into the highest social circles, and being in the best social circles allowed her to be a force for change. Her divorce was shocking to many at the time, but she called to light that men were given many passes by society as their wives were expected to sit by and feel grateful. She was seen as a pariah when she was really the wronged party.  Her forcing her daughter into a loveless marriage is a bit difficult to understand, but it was not nearly as shocking then as it seems now. If you are interested in Consuelo, I very much enjoyed her ghost written autobiography, “The Glitter and the Gold.”

It feels as if history has neatly filed Alva away as a sensational figure, a fortune hunter who tossed her husband aside and chased a title for her daughter. True, she was a divorcee, a women’s rights advocate, etc. But, this book suggests that there was more to Alva. Yes she did seek a divorce, but she was married for two decades prior to that. She lived an entire life with W.K. Vanderbilt and worked to advance their family. Yes she built lavish homes, but she was integral in the process–additionally her NYC home played a significant role in how the city was developing. She campaigned for all women–regardless of their race to be able to vote.

This book will have you googling socialites every few pages, wondering what it would be like to be that wealthy, and feeling grateful that women no longer have to be immensely wealthy to be independent (although I have to imagine most of us wouldn’t turn the $$$$ down).

Four out of Five Stars.