10 Books to Read if You Loved Red, White & Royal Blue
Casey McQuiston’s debut novel, Red, White & Royal Blue won the 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Romance. It was the first queer romance novel I read, and I wondered if I’d be able to relate to the characters, since I’m a straight woman, and I absolutely did.
Sure, the storyline is a bit improbable – the son of the first female President of the U.S. falls in love with a Royal Prince, but you just have to go with it! This is their love story, AND it’s about so much more. There’s family relationships, societal pressure, and self doubt. It’s about not only loving another, but believing YOU are worthy of love too. It was so easy to get swept up in the story and I couldn’t put it down. The two men’s social status made for a lot of interesting speed bumps along the way. They face criticism of their relationship, as well as support. This all made the story feel realistic.
If you haven’t read this one yet, what are you waiting for??!!
If you have read it, and adored it like I did, here’s a whole list of other romance novels you’ll also enjoy. These all have something in common with RW&RB although not everything. Some are queer romances but not all, some have a royalty in them or an enemies to lovers trope.
I’ve seven of the ten listed below, and the rest are on my TBR. I hope you can find your next happily ever after here!
10 Books to Read if You Loved Red, White & Royal Blue
1. Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick
This novel is often described as being “just like” RW&RB, and I can see why on the surface. The cover is similar and one of these guys is a prince. The other guy is a commoner, which puts a totally different spin on things, and it has has an overall different feel to it. Carter is a fabulous protagonist and all I wanted for him the whole time was for him to get his shit together and let himself believe he was deserving of being loved and happy. Prince Edgar is the first ever openly gay royalty and it’s a big deal. He struggles with all the expectations thrust upon him by society and tradition and the desire to please his family. He also needs to learn that he’s worthy of being loved for who he is as a person and not on the surface. One of the coolest characters in the book is the Queen of England. I’ll just leave it at that you’re surprised by her like I was. It’s a hilarious, fun emotional rollercoaster of a read. It’s generally hopeful and positive, with powerful messages about self love and coming into your own despite others’ expectations.
2. American Royals by Katharine McGee
Here we have more royals, but this is an alternate history novel so this time they are ruling America! Beatrice Washington is a strong young woman who is in an impossible position of being the next in line for the throne, which will make her the first ever Queen of America. The point of view alternates between Beatrice and three other young women in her circle. Through their eyes, we get to see everything that goes on behind the scenes. There’s lots of love and loathing and secrets and drama. It’s what a call a juicy read! I liked the glimpses into what royals likely face in terms of expectations. The storytelling and world building are stellar in a unique story that makes for a fun read while tackling serious subjects.
3. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
This novel has been described as Kate Middleton fan fiction and I’m here for it! Bex is an American who takes a chance on adventure and travels to Oxford for college. While there, she meets and falls for Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. Dating Nick puts Bex in a world that is completely new to her. Along with the glamor and obvious benefits of the relationship are hidden secrets, drama, and obstacles Bex isn’t sure she can handle. Now she must face whether she sacrificed everything in her old life for love and whether that will be worth it.
4. A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
Naledi is an orphan who was raised in the foster system. She’s worked hard to become a successful grad student. Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, searching for the woman he believes to be his soul mate. Their stories weave together as an exploration of place and what is means to find ones roots. There’s some great sexual tension and relationship development.
5. The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert
Ruben visits the school where Cherry works and is immediately smitten with her. After one sexy date they are busted fooling around by the paparazzi, and Ruben blurts out that she is his fiancé, in order to protect his reputation as a royal playboy. The story gets better from there, as the two navigate a fake engagement. This is a super enjoyable, juicy read. I appreciate that it has a little bit of heaviness in regard to the Prince’s family history. The writing is solid, and the sexy is hot and heavy.
6. Boyfriend Material by Alex Cross
I appreciate main characters on a journey to realize they are worthy of love and here we have two of them. Luc and Oliver agree to a fake relationship in order to benefit them both personally. They’ve both had terrible experiences with previous partners and neither believes they can be in a healthy relationship. Then they discover they are in one, it just isn’t real…or is it? This was an emotional roller coaster of a story, and I loved watching each man grown on his own, but I wanted more sex!
7. The Duchess War by Courtney Milan
Minnie and Robert are both fabulous characters with strong back stories. I enjoyed watching the past and present come together. While the story does demonstrate some antiquated gender roles, they make sense in the time period without being forced on the reader. Over all it’s wonderfully sex positive, and their relationship felt realistic. Minnie is an independent minded woman with a painful past. Robert is open minded and willing to let go of societal expectations.
8. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Henry Montague (AKA Monty) was born and bred to be a gentleman. He has completed his schooling and will soon be expected to take over running his family’s estate. But before he’s forced to settle down, Monty vows to have one last hurrah on his Grand Tour of Europe. He takes off with his best friend/traveling companion, who he has a crush on, and with his sister. But things take a turn and Monty is eventually faced with the consequences of his actions. This is a unique reading experience that will give you all the feels.
9. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Lucy prides herself on being loved by everyone at her office. She goes out of her way to be kind and accommodating. Except when it comes to Josh, and the feeling is mutual. When they both come up for the same promotion, these bitter officemates take things up a notch (or ten!) This is a steamy take on rivals to lovers is unique and fun.
10. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
One of reasons I read a lot of romance is because I relish in witnessing the character’s journey, even though I know the protagonists will end up together. In Hoang’s novels, there’s a spin that personal development. In both novels, the main characters are Autistic, high functioning adults. They have families who love and support them, yet encourage them to get outside their comfort zones. Then the love interest comes in and accepts them as is (maybe with some time) and it’s really beautiful. This is a fun, sexy, romantic book. It’s a fast, easy read that’s an emotional roller coaster for the readers (and the characters.)