[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to have author Erika Kelly guest post on the site today. Take it away, Erika!]
I’ll bet Meghan Markle doesn’t scoop out the litter box first thing every morning, and I’m positive Kate Middleton doesn’t get all hot and prickly while waiting for the credit card reader to process her purchase, sending up silent prayers not to get declined.
I imagine both of these women, who probably grew up on two-hundred thread count sheets like I did, now wake up in their castle-bedrooms in nests of down bedding, as their personal assistants whisk open the heavy velvet curtains, the light of a gloriously perfect day spilling into their eyes.
I can smell the freshly brewed coffee and just-baked croissants—both chocolate and plain, because who knows what their moods are from one morning to the next—waiting for them on silver trays. Their children are already downstairs at the table, faces scrubbed, wearing the same adorable outfits I’ve seen on Instagram that I covet but can’t afford.
But, even if I could afford them, they’d be discarded in a heap on the floor of my children’s bedrooms, while they, with their jelly-smeared faces, run around half-naked fighting over the iPad.
Ah, royal romance books, sweep me away! To a land where linens smell like lavender, private jets are a normal means of transportation, and designers beg to dress me up.
Where date night involves cracking open the safe and figuring out just the right crown jewels to go with my couture gown.
Fairytales and Disney princesses have been part of the fabric of our lives since childhood. They’ve transported us out of our mundane lives and into worlds of wealth, beauty, and luxury. Just look at New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle’s The Swedish Prince. Twenty-three-year-old hotel housekeeper Maggie McPherson is working hard to support her five siblings when she meets the Crown Prince of Sweden. Their road to happy-ever-after might not be easy, but the reward is a life that puts her lonely and ordinary existence in her rear-view mirror.
As Nana Malone, USA Today bestselling author of the Royals Undercover series, says, “I love writing royals, because they deliver on that fairytale itch. Even moreso than any billionaire could. Royals bask in a rarified air that even the extremely rich can’t access. And that air comes with tiaras!”
It’s more than just the luxury lifestyle, though, that makes royal romances so appealing. Princesses have style, flair. Panache. I was that girl who was always a step behind trends. I didn’t wear make-up until my early twenties, and no matter how hard I tried to put together cool outfits, I somehow always missed the mark. Worse, as an introvert, social graces never came easily to me.
But Meghan and Kate? They’ve got the right clothes, the trendy hairstyles…and they always know which fork to use. I think that’s the appeal of Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries. Like so many of us, Mia Thermopolis has frizzy hair and a unibrow; she’s socially awkward and anxious. But, with the help of her grandmother, the queen of Genovia, she undergoes a magical transformation that turns her into a confident, stylish young woman.
One of my favorite things about royal romances is the larger-than-life characters. In New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase’s book Royally Screwed, our hero, Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, is described as “wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant.” He’s the most sought-after bachelor in the world, and his grandmother, the queen, is about to hand him the throne. He falls in love with a New Yorker who’s barely making ends meet, and the one woman who shows no interest in him.
Emma says her favorite part about writing royal romance “is the chance to combine the sweep-you-off-your-feet magic of a fairytale with the realism of contemporary romance. Royalty is such a unique form of celebrity that inherently comes with a history and traditions, complicated relationships, and at times funny or ridiculous predicaments. As a writer, there’s so much to explore and sink my teeth into with these stories—and as a reader there are so many beautiful layers of emotion to experience and enjoy.”
And that’s exactly why I had so much fun writing The Reluctant Boyfriend. After Princess Rosalina finds her fiancé cheating on her, she heads off to America, disguised as “Rosie,” so she can go wild in a cowboy town in Wyoming. I kept putting her in situations that pushed her out of her comfort zone, and it was that fish-out-of-water aspect that made writing this book so much fun.
I asked Casey McQuiston, the New York Times best-selling author of Red, White, and Royal Blue, why she chose to set her debut book in the world of royalty, and she said, “Growing up in the ’90s with Princess Diana, Prince William, and Prince Harry constantly in the news, I think the idea of royalty always fascinated me. I’m intrigued by high profile worlds in which we see their every move and yet there’s still a whole other secret, unattainable world behind closed doors. There’s a glamour and a mystery to that that appeals to a lot of people. I chose to explore a royal story because I thought it’d be fun to play with timelines and tease out historical details, but I also just wanted to spend some time inside these palaces we’ll never actually get to see.”
As a child who grew up immersed in the worlds of fairytales, I had so much fun creating my own royal family, decorating their castle, and then letting my princess go wild in a foreign land—and, of course, fall in love with a hot American. Royal romances are the ultimate larger-than-life romantic fantasy.
And they come in all genres. If you haven’t already, try some of these:
A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Royally Screwed by Emma Chase
Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
These Old Shades Georgette Heyer
The Swedish Prince by Karina Halle
The Royal Treatment by Melanie Summers
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Cheeky Royal by Nana Malone
About the Author:
Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life—she just didn’t know it. Raised on the classics, she didn’t discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she’s been devouring the genre and has found her true voice as an author. Over three decades she’s written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women’s fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she lives in the southwest, drinks a lot of tea, and is always waiting for her cats to get off her keyboard.
Connect with Erika:
The Reluctant Boyfriend by Erika Kelly, out now!
Princess Gone Wild! When Princess Rosalina discovers her fiancé cheating on her, she’s done being dutiful. Jumping on a plane, she lands five thousand miles away in a world of hot cowboys, jean skirts, and tequila. Grabbing her chance to fly under the radar, she plans on acting out every single fantasy she’s denied herself while trying to meet the expectations of her family and country.Brodie Bowie doesn’t know what happened. One minute he’s wreaking havoc and tearing up the slopes with his brothers, and the next he’s an outsider. All of them are in serious relationships. He just can’t figure out why they’d put a ring on it when there’s so much fun to be had as a single man.Brodie’s not the settling down type, but then he’s never met anyone like the woman who jumps in front of his bulldozer, refusing to let him dig up his meadow. The feisty chemist and perfumer is everything he never knew he wanted.Except she only wants a summer fling before she goes back to her real life…as a princess. He doesn’t fit in her world, and there’s no way she can live in his. But a love like theirs doesn’t play by the rules.