Title: His Royal Favorite (His Royal Secret: Book Two)
Author: Lilah Pace
Length: 245 Pages (Kindle)
At a Glance: His Royal Favorite wasn’t a perfect book, but it didn’t have to be. I was still in love with it by the end.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: James, Prince of Wales, is making history. He’s decided to come out to his subjects—and the world. However, telling the truth means exposing his relationship with lone-wolf reporter Benjamin Dahan. Although Ben never wanted commitment, the unexpected depth of his feelings leads him to join James in the media’s harsh spotlight.
When the news story explodes across the globe, Ben can endure the mockery and dirty jokes. But after his tragic past is cruelly revealed, his life begins to implode. Can even his love for James be worth this?
James has it no easier. His revelation divides the country and sparks turmoil within the royal family. He must struggle to defend not only himself and Ben, but also his younger sister, who hovers on the brink of a breakdown that could endanger her life.
Is Ben strong enough to survive the onslaught and stand by James’ side? And will James have to make a choice between Ben and the crown?
Review: His Royal Favorite is the conclusion of Lilah Pace’s two book series that revolves around James, the Prince of Wales, and his partner, Ben, begins immediately where His Royal Secret left us. James is preparing to make his coming out statement, and Ben has promised to stand by him. Pace did a gorgeous job with the beginning section of the book. James’s statement is brilliant, and I completely adore how proud Ben is of him and how perfectly that pride and adoration comes across on the page. The question is, will that love and pride be enough once the media shitstorm hits?
This second installment of the storyline does have decidedly more drama than the first book did, but the utter charm of His Royal Highness himself remains a bright constant. I love, love, love James. He is such a genuinely good person, and so strong and comfortable in his skin. I was rooting so hard for him throughout the whole book, both with regard to his role as future king, and his relationship with Ben. Little by little, James works to show his country and his family that he is no less deserving of his birthright now that he has come out than he was before anyone knew he was gay, and to convince Ben that they can have a future together, no matter what becomes of his role in the monarchy. I liked that even though Ben was uncertain about being able to live in the spotlight, he never wavered about his support of James. I swooned so hard at this bit:
“Oh, come on, Ben. You’ve never believed in the monarchy, not really.”
It took a few moments for Ben to be sure of his answer. “I don’t believe in the idea of a king, no. But I’ve come to believe in the king you could be.”
Ben definitely won me over by the end of the book. He was there for James even when it was uncomfortable for him, and stood up for him even in tense family situations.
The blurb hints at a crisis with Indigo, which was an incredibly well-written and moving part of the storyline. Pace does an admirable job in dealing with the discussions of Indigo’s mental health, particularly her struggles with severe anxiety and depression, and self-harm, and I loved the handling of the night where they—James and Ben—actually fought to finally get her the help she needed. It turned out to be another opportunity for Ben to shine, and presented an extremely touching moment between Ben and James as well.
Unfortunately, I did have the same issue with this book that I did with the first, in that the middle dragged just a bit. It seemed a little repetitive at times with regard to Ben angsting over whether or not he could “live the royal life” forever. I felt like it was worked out nicely when he did finally come to his decision—he simply had some things he had to work through before he could let himself truly throw himself into it—but, I do think that part was strung out, and he left James unfairly hanging for a bit too long.
That little niggle aside—I HAVE to tell you guys about a particularly amazing part of this reading experience, but I have to do it without giving anything away, so bear with me… Have you ever been reading a book and feel like it’s going to go in a direction, and you don’t really want it to because you don’t think it would be realistic or the author couldn’t pull it off? Well, that happened with this book. I had resigned myself to a certain thing not going a certain way because of aforementioned reasons—but, then the author did go there and she totally did pull it off. Totally pulled it off. I couldn’t believe it. I honest-to-god found myself actually bouncing in my seat and giddily clapping. So, yeah…that was awesome.
In fact, the positives far outweighed any small negatives… The media reporting and paparazzi bits were very well-done—if shocking and horrifying as reminders of the depths reporters and photographers will go to get a headline—and even provided a few moments of levity. I loved when James had the excellent idea that Ben should work with the charities team. It seemed like such a good fit for him. And, I also liked that Ben got to focus on his writing, and how that was a tool to remind everyone that Ben was his own man and could have a wonderful career and make a name for himself outside of being The Royal Favourite.
And, once again I was completely taken with all of the royal family stuff. It really was so, so interesting and engaging. Both the family aspect and the business aspect fascinated me to no end. There are endless protocols and traditions that must be kept constantly in mind and upheld. The business with how the Church of England was going to react to James’s coming out, and whether they would support his succession, kept me on the edge of my seat. And, I would be remiss to not mention the queen, and how she completely surprised and delighted me.
So, it wasn’t a perfect book, but it didn’t have to be. I was still in love with it by the end (which was amazing, by the way). The epilogue was this brilliant sort of timeline montage, and I looooooved it. It covered all the bases and made me tear up more than once. I would read more about these guys in a heartbeat; I wish it wasn’t ending here.
You can buy His Royal Favorite here: