The Throne Must Go On

This week marks the release of one of my most-anticipated releases – and a book that you'll definitely find on my Top Ten of 2020 list at the end of the year. The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan is the sequel to The Royal We, a book I first read when it came out back in 2015. I've re-read it twice since then, and I love it more each time. These characters feel like my friends, and it's such a comforting read for me. The Royal We is set in a world that's familiar but with a twist. You can read my review for more details about that story. But the fun nods to William and Kate's love story story, the insightful way it explores personal privacy vs. life in the public eye, and the descriptions of England (especially Oxford!) have earned it a spot on my all-time favorites list.

And do you know what I wrote in my 2015 review? I'm dying for a sequel so I can spend more time with Nick and Bex – and get an update on Freddie, too, of course. 2020 hasn't been the year I'd wish for, by any stretch of the imagination, but my dreams have come true! I couldn't wait to read The Heir Affair, and it did not disappoint. I read the book back in May and adored every minute of it! Picking up right after the end of the first book, it gives you an up-close look at the fallout from Nick and Rebecca's fateful wedding day. Marrying a prince doesn't guarantee a happily ever after, especially when you're in the midst of a very public scandal.

In this sequel, Queen Eleanor says it best, But what is it you Americans say? You break it, you buy it? Well, you broke it, and you've bought it, so it must be you who mends it. But will Bex… ahem, Rebecca… be able to fix it? You're going to have to buy the book to find out, but I can still tell you a little bit of what to expect from it (with no spoilers, of course). Clocking in at 464 pages, The Heir Affair will take you on a Journey. Yes, with a capital J. The newlywed period – living together, combining your lives, joining a new family and creating one of your own – can be hard for mere mortals. When your in-laws are monarchs, there's even more pressure added to the mix. 

Even if Rebeca's impropriety from the previous book hadn't come to light, she was still in for a rude awakening once she became an official member of the royal family. I truly believe that no amount of etiquette training beforehand can truly prepare someone for the world she was about to enter. With the first book, I loved how it explored the idea of what someone has to sacrifice as a sovereign. The idea of giving up your privacy because you fell in love with a public figure wasn't something I'd thought deeply about before that book. And now, it's always on my mind when I read articles + see photos of the British Royal Family. I certainly don't envy Kate Middleton.

What I love most about this sequel, on the other hand, is how it explores your entire life being judged in the court of public opinion, having the weight of centuries of history upon your shoulders, and what a monarch must sacrifice for the throne. You see all this private pain – things like tension in a marriage, distance between brothers, business interfering with a friendship, and heartbreaking medical complications  – that has a significant impact on your emotional and mental health. And yet, it's got to stay behind closed doors. The public wants you to be personable, sure, but in a polished way. Don't be too ambitious, too scandalous... too much of anything.

How can you be a PERSON when you're also a POSITION? That was the question that I couldn't stop asking while I was reading. There's a lot happening in this book: a marriage in crisis, a blossoming friendship between two unexpected people, a palace renovation, a quest to discover secrets from the past, and a prescient storyline for one character that echoes of real-life changes that have taken place in the British Royal Family in recent months. And that's certainly not all you'll find inside! There's a ton packed in these pages, and I couldn't get enough of it.

If your biggest issue with The Royal We was the length and/or pace, you'll probably feel similarly about this sequel. However, I had no complaints. I loved all the details – the witty dialogue, the emotional developments, and the major drama. Because these characters feel like friends, I was thrilled to spend as much time as possible with them. Could some of it have been cut? Probably. But I wouldn't lose a page personally. Did I like every decision these characters made? Nope. But I understood their motivation. Are these characters occasionally suffering from Privileged People Problems? Sure. Yet, I still wouldn't trade places with them. I'd rather be a "nobody" in Georgia than join the monarchy. Knowing history has its eyes on you (thanks, Hamilton) is an incredible amount of pressure.

And while I may have made this sound like it's all Deep Thoughts and Complicated Scenarios, it's also a ton of dishy, dramatic fun. It was thought-provoking read for me, but it was also entertaining and exactly what I needed in the midst of COVID-19. The drama is cranked all the way up, and it's messy, y'all. But so are The Real Housewives. Why would I expect anything less from the royal family? Give someone money and power, and shit's gonna start hitting the fan. If you've read The Royal We, I can't wait for you to find out what happens next. And if you haven't, what are you waiting for? I love the Fug Girls and these characters they've created! Long may they reign.

So Quotable
I liked that used books brought with them their own history – every dog-ear, every stain, every crease. Maybe a book was slightly faded because someone had left it in the sun on their honeymoon. Maybe page ninety-eight was turned at the corner because it contained a glorious insult, or the perfect romantic turn of phrase. Maybe the person who'd highlighted nearly every line had graduated at the top of her class. Secondhand books could have lived in tiny walk-ups or hotel rooms of the White House – or, here, even in Balmoral Castle itself. Each book was a mystery, its secrets hidden in plain sight. Kind of like me.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.


  1. As excited as I was to read this reading your review makes it sounds just as amazing as I was hoping!!

  2. I agree, I LOVE the length of these books. I feel as if I know the characters so well because of how long the books are, I love that we as readers get to see even some of the more "mundane" details of their daily lives!


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