The Heir and the Spare
by Emily Albright
Publisher: Merit Press
Release Date: January 18th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Chick Lit, British Literature, New Adult
Rate: 4 stars
Family can be complicated. Especially when skeletons from the past pop up unexpectedly. For American Evie Gray, finding out her deceased mother had a secret identity, and not one of the caped crusader variety, was quite the surprise. Evie’s mom had a secret life before she was even born, one that involved tiaras.
In this modern day fairytale, Evie is on a path to figure out who her mom really was, while discovering for herself what the future will hold. Charged with her late mother’s letters, Evie embarks on a quest into her past. The first item on the list is to attend Oxford, her mom’s alma mater. There, Evie stumbles upon a real life prince charming, Edmund Stuart the second Prince of England, who is all too happy to be the counterpart to her damsel in distress.
Evie can’t resist her growing attraction to Edmund as they spend more time together trying to unravel the clues her mother left behind. But, when doubts arise as to whether or not Edmund could ever be with an untitled American, what really ends up unraveling is Evie’s heart. When Evie uncovers all the facts about her mom’s former life, she realizes her mom’s past can open doors she never dreamed possible, doors that can help her be with Edmund. But, with everything now unveiled, Evie starts to crack under the pressure of new family responsibilities and the realization that her perfect prince may want her for all the wrong reasons.
I love to discuss the bad things first before praising a book, so here it goes…
This book looked more New Adult than Young Adult with the description above. I’m all into New Adult as of lately, and the thought of a modern fairy tale-ish story about royalty was intriguing. However, many of the conflicts in the story were the type of conflicts you’d see in High School than in a college, at OXFORD! (I dream of going to Oxford one day but moving on…) I rolled my eyes constantly with the whole childish drama of crushes, gossip, blah blah blah you live through high school. If I’ve learned one thing from my own first college experience, is that people mind their business in college and there’s barely any gossip or conflict like in high school, except some faculty rivalry, but here! It was ridiculous, and I gave up in trying to look at these kids as college students and more like high scholers high on hormones and some other weird stuff.
With that out of the way, I absolutely loved the whole studying abroad feeling the author brought into the story making me want to jump in a plane and be there as well. It was also sweet to see how Evie felt in company of her diseased mother through the letters she left her for every birthday and when she completes a task in England. It was predictable about what was going to happen with the main task her mom left her, but it was still great to see Evie’s reactions and how she took decisions regarding those tasks.
The romance was, of course, so swoony and sweet and Edmund! He was caring, trustworthy, supportive, loyal, handsome (in my mind heh), and a complete gentleman. It took a lot of willpower and determination too, and patience, to deal with someone so indecisive as Evie when it came to Edmund. It was one of the other things I didn’t enjoy much while reading because, even she she was twenty years old or so, she would push him away, go back to him, push him…
At least it compensated when things got extremely fluffy and romantic ❤ Another good thing, none-romantic related, was the royalty aspect in the book and the lessons it has. Royalty isn’t as magical as stories make it to be and comes with a lot of work and sacrifice on things like your “private life” and being subject to a lot of criticism. And I loved how many moments through the story it was mentioned to be true to yourself, to not let others make you feel inferior, and to not freaking worry so much about a relationship and the “obstacles” put in your way like with someone’s relationship…
Overall, it was an enjoyable story, regardless of the many things that frustrated me from time to time. It was sweet, informative (Edmund was responsible for that), engaging, and thought-provoking in many things when it comes to duty, royalty, social views and expectations. Definitely recommend it for a light reading.
But somehow, here I am, living my very own fairytale and about to embark on a happily ever after with prince charming.
Emily Albright’s debut novel, THE HEIR AND THE SPARE, is releasing January 18, 2016 from Merit Press.
She’s a writer, a major bookworm, a lover of romantic movies, a wife, a mother, an owner of one adorable (yet slightly insane) cockapoo, and uses way too many :).