“Any excitement I should be feeling over the fact that the royals might be moving next door have been absolutely dashed due to this sexy British dick on a power trip.” —The Royals Next Door
The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle has all the elements of a completely binge-worthy beach read. Karina Halle has written a completely fabulous contemporary romance. Using what is quickly becoming a favorite—the grumpy/sunshine trope, The Royals Next Door is a unique take on a royal-themed romance.
The royals in question move in next door to the heroine, Piper, and bring in their broody bodyguard, Harrison. Set on a small island in the Pacific Northwest near Vancouver, Harrison’s job is to keep the tabloids and nosy locals at bay. Piper and Harrison’s meet cute is the stuff of rom-com gold, especially when Harrison is hell-bent on deterring Piper from accessing the driveway she shares with the newly installed royal couple.
“Because any man, any person worth their salt, would see how good you are. How sweet you are. How fun. You have a very pure, very big heart, Piper, and anyone who doesn’t see that isn’t worth your time. Sure, you run your mouth off a bit, but it keeps people on their toes. I know you keep me on my toes.”
I’m constantly surprised by the ingenuity of authors who dove into their creativity during this last year. The Royals Next Door was written during the tumultuous times of 2020, and with that Karina Halle effortlessly writes themes within this new release that are not only relevant but also deserve to be talked about in any genre. Themes of mental health touch each of the main characters. Piper speaks quite plainly about her struggles with her own mental illness as well as living with her mother who also has her own unique diagnoses. Harrison and the royal couple, Eddie and Monica, also deal with their own issues.
Drawing inspiration from our current reality, Eddie and Monica’s battles with the British tabloids are familiar to Harry and Meghan’s experiences. Their need to escape to a small island in an even smaller town paints a stark contrast from the hubbub of England to the small island hamlet. While Harrison deals with keeping a celebrity couple safe from prying eyes, Piper wrestles with her self-described “hermit” lifestyle and with her wanting to feel like a local even though she has lived on the island for over 5 years. Isolation themes anyone? I think readers like me will also find these themes truly relatable. I really enjoyed that Harrison and Piper’s relationship navigated each of the bigger themes of the book and then navigated each bump in the road in their relationship with a level of self-awareness and communication.
“Because there is change in the air for all of us, a fire that’s growing. Sometimes you just need a spark.”
One final aspect to point out is that Karina Halle has written Piper as a devout romance reader who produces her own podcast. I am also one of those people who will go to bat for the romance industry and I loved every aspect of Piper’s journey to erase the stigma surrounding females who enjoy romance and the romance book industry as a whole. This particular storyline is wonderfully fulfilling to me, and I think speaks to the overall changing attitude towards the romance genre as a whole.
Karina Halle is one of those authors who—for me—never disappoints me whenever I pick up a book she has written. For her to write such a fun, but truly on-trend book during the pandemic is stellar. Piper and Harrison have the odds stacked against them as characters. They each bring baggage to their potential relationship yet they approach each other with communication and trust. I adored reading a romance with the angst and drama getting addressed and resolved immediately. The Royals Next Door is as refreshing as it heart-warming. Look for it to release on August 31st! The Royals Next Door is not a book to miss out on!
* A brief post-script note: Karina Halle is a truly unique author. She lives her life out-loud and unapologetically. Recent events have caused immense emotional pain for Karina and her family. If you could reach out and help make this upcoming release for her a bright spot, I think that would be something great for the book community to do! —Thanks and Love, Jes