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Vilja Reads

I'm a student, so I don't have nearly as much time for leisure reading as I'd like. If I manage to read an entire course book instead of just the assigned chapters, I'll review that here, too.

The Princess Affair

The Princess Affair - Nell Stark

Princess Alexandra, Britain’s second in line for the throne, is known in the tabloids as “Sassy Sasha” — the party girl socialite with a temper and a wild streak a mile wide. Kerry Donovan is a hard-working footballer and American architecture student in Oxford on the Rhodes scholarship. They meet, sparks fly, and suddenly the princess is teetering on the edge of the biggest media shitstorm in recent memory.

I love the subject, as it promises delicious high life fantasy and a high stakes setting. Sadly, this just wasn’t very well written, despite the author’s obvious passion for literature and Oxford.

I would have forgiven a lot just for the subject matter, but even with my rosiest of glasses on… no.

There were parts that swept me up! The anticipation just before you KNEW (it was quite predictable) the lesbians would hit the fan was exciting! The description of Balmoral Castle and the grounds, as well as Kerry’s first day at Oxford, were evocative. And yet… no.

The sex was kind of hot, aside from moments of disconnect when Kerry’s body was described in masculine terms, making me momentarily suspect the novel of being het with the male filed off. But… no. No, it was probably never het, but also just… no.

Kerry’s all right when she’s on her own or with her gay male friend Harris. She is refreshingly nice for someone so masculine-coded in a romance novel. However, I can’t stand her chivalry when she’s around Sasha. Maybe it’s not meant that way, but chivalry, whoever the culprit, seems just subconsciously condescending to me — let’s protect the little femme, despite the fact that she’s not only powerful because of her position but also her personality, because — femme! Kerry’s musculature is also described rather fetishistically, but maybe that’s only a minus because I’m not into it.

Sasha was, at her best, an interesting and nuanced character, and the difference between how her actions appear and what they were motivated by is palpable without making those actions illogical within the confines of her characterization. At worst, she seems split, as if the author was trying to write two characters at the same time. To be fair, that was part of the character’s composition and conflict — the split self image and the insecurities it brings.

The love story suffered from something that’s a problem with a lot of category romance novels: that “falling in love” is not a plot, and trying to stretch it out over a minimum of 50,000 words is not going to be easy, especially without a another plot to carry it, no matter how lush and interesting the surroundings. They have “incredible chemistry”, they “spend time together”, they “come to appreciate each other” and “can’t stop thinking about each other” but they don’t actually have much conflict, other than that they both know this is a stupid idea, and they have to do it all by sneaking around.

In conclusion, I liked bits of it but all in all it was not really worth it.