Summary (from the publisher):
Piper Evans: elementary school teacher by day–avid romance reader and anonymous podcaster by night. She lives a quiet, reclusive life, taking care of her mother, who struggles with mental illness, avoiding her regrettable ex, who bartends in town, and trying to make inroads in the tight-knit island community that still sees her, five years in, as an outsider.
And she’s happy with how things are–really–until British royals rent the property next to hers and their brooding bodyguard decides she’s a security threat. Piper quickly realizes that one person’s fairy tale is an ordinary woman’s nightmare as a media frenzy takes over the island and each run-in with Harrison Cole is hotter and more confusing than the last. But beneath Harrison’s no-nonsense exterior lies a soft heart, one that could tempt a woman who’s sworn off attachments into believing in white knights.
But when Piper finds herself smack in the middle of a royal scandal that rocks the island she’ll need more than Harrison’s strong arms to shield her–she’ll have to do a little rescuing herself. With careers, hearts, and friendships on the line, Piper and Harrison will have to decide what they’re willing to give up for a chance at their own happily ever after.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Give me any royal-inspired back & I’m already there – not to mention one with a protagonist who is a teacher and runs a romance novel podcast!
I 100% admit that the cover of The Royals Next Door totally grabbed my attention a few months ago, and I couldn’t also help but love the synopsis. The book follows Piper, an elementary school teacher and romance novel podcast hosts who lives on a small-town island in British Columbia. Piper doesn’t tend to socialize, after leaving her ex-fiancé at the altar years ago and living with & taking care of her mother who struggles with mental illness. Piper’s life definitely gets more interesting though when the British royals Prince Edward & Duchess Monica (picture Meaghan and Harry) move next door, along with their broody and attractive bodyguard, Harrison. As Piper and Harrison adjust to having each other as neighbors and doing their best to protect the royals’ privacy, they soon find themselves trying to have their own happily ever after admins royal scandal.
The Royals Next Door was such a cute & fun slow-burn romance. There’s slight hate-to-love vibes, as Piper and Harrison don’t exactly get on the right foot when they first meet, but their attraction to one another is near evident from the get-go. I really liked Harrison and Piper’s getting-to-know-you type scenes together, from coffee & cinnamon buns trips to grocery runs at Costco (yes, you read that right) to some more intimate moments where they discuss their romantic pasts together. Both characters were a bit sarcastic and had good senses of humor, so it was really fun to read their banter.
Outside of the romance, the book also well-balanced so many other balances, including the royals/Monica and Edward’s relationship, Piper’s relationship with her mom & discussions surrounding mental health, and Piper’s career and podcast. The royal couple was a thinly veiled version of Meghan and Harry, escaping to Piper’s town to hide from the royal spotlight and figuring out their role in the royal family. Piper’s relationship with her mom is a big aspect of the book, as Piper’s mother struggles with personality disorders and Piper herself struggles with trauma. The book had really open discussions about mental health and therapy that I haven’t seen in too many romance novels.
Piper also reminded me a lot of Hazel from Christina Lauren’s Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating based on their personalities and yes, jobs as teacher – I overall recommend checking out The Royals Next Door if you’re a fan of Christina Lauren’s earlier standalone contemporary romances. Piper is an elementary school teacher, and although the book is set during the summer, we got a few scenes and asides about her job. Piper is also the host of a romance novel podcast – I loved when she talked about the genre and IRL books- and without spoilers, she does worry about her career crossing over with the podcast. There are some messages about her job and romance reading that felt a little preachy and repetitive to what I’ve seen before in other books, but I really enjoyed having this career & reading interest incorporated in the book.
Overall, I highly recommend The Royals Next Door if you’re craving a fun & fluffy royals-inspired romance. I plan on checking out the companion novel, The Royals Upstairs, next year.
Have you read The Royals Next Door? Have you read any books by Karina Halle? What contemporary romances have you been loving lately? Share in the comments!