Title: The Heir and the Spare (2016)
Author: Emily Albright
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, New Adult
Extent: 288 pages
Release Date: January 18, 2016
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.
This book. This book. This book was touted as a cross between The Princess Diaries and The Royal We, the former of which I loved and the latter of which received favourable reviews. Yet this book is quite possibly one of the most frustrating YA novels I’ve read in my entire life, and this review could have just as easily been titled ‘all the things wrong with contemporary romance’.
The main reason why I didn’t DNF The Heir and the Spare is because I was incredibly excited about it last year—the premise, after all, is fun. Not terribly original for sure, but fun (when done right). I’m definitely not against a romance involving modern royals, but with a plot as cliched and predictable as this one, the characters better be a) interesting or b) likeable.