The Royal We

royal

One of my favorite places on the internet is Go Fug Yourself, which you could describe as a celebrity fashion blog. However, the site is so much smarter and kinder than that makes it sound. Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, the two women who run the site, do post pictures of celebrities and discuss their clothes, but a few things make them very different from TMZ or some of the other less savory celebrity sites:

  • They are VERY careful to criticize the clothes and not the person, so their comments often end up being along the lines of, “You are so much better than this is outfit!”
  • There is really no body shaming at all
  • They are interested in fashion as an industry and an art, and cover fashion shows as well as celebrities
  • Their Friday links round ups are great
  • They are legitimately good writers, so their commentary is smart and often spins off on these hilarious tangents. Like, they’ve created a whole persona for Jennifer Lopez, so whenever they cover one of her outfits, the commentary is all from her (fictional) point of view, and fictional Jennifer Lopez is a total badass.

While Go Fug Yourself is still going strong, in the past few years Cocks and Morgan have turned their writing skills towards books, starting with a YA series that includes Messy and Spoiled. I thought those were nice if not exactly my cup of tea, but I am all in for the recent adult title The Royal We.

First you have to know that Cocks and Morgan are obsessed with the various royal families around the world—they will happily review the fashions at the wedding of minor royals from Luxembourg—but with Will and Kate specifically. They’re not alone in that, certainly, but they turned their obsession into a charming romantic novel. Their premise is that a fun American college student went to study abroad at Oxford for a year and met, and fell in love with, a young Englishman who just so happens to be in line to be king. The tabloids go wild, but what is actually happening behind the scenes? What is it like to be the focus of all that attention?

The book walks a careful line, in that it’s clearly inspired by Will and Kate and the current House of Windsor but it changes enough to keep from being a flat-out Lifetime movie retelling or feeling exploitative. (They branch off from official British history around Queen Victoria.)  And Cocks and Morgan have done their research—the story includes details about life at Oxford and in Buckingham Palace, and the descriptions of dressing for the cameras and running from paparazzi clearly reflect their years of writing about celebrities. And they manage to make the characters, including the Queen, feel like real people.

My sister read this book before I did, and her entire review was: fun, but a little too long. And I think she summed it six words what it is going to take me hundreds to do here. While things could have been a little tighter at the end and the story spins off into an unnecessary sub-plot with the Kate character’s twin sister, overall the book was a very enjoyable way to spend some summer afternoons. If you spend as much time reading People and Hello magazines as I do, you’ll especially enjoy matching the fictional characters to real people. But even if you’ve never gotten at 5:00 in the morning to watch a royal wedding on TV, the story is still chatty and fun, with a sweet love story at the heart of it. Also, how cute is that cover image?

Kinsey’s Three Word Review: Sharp, sexy, and sweet.

You might also like: something by Meg Cabot (she’s written about a zillion, but the Size 12 is Not Fat series has a similar flavor) or Liane Moriarty (What Alice Forgot is my favorite) for more smart rom-coms. If you like how-the-1%-live stories, Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan is fun. If it’s the British aristocracy that catches your attention, the non-fiction To Marry an English Lord is a super-entertaining history of the rich American girls (including Winston Churchill’s mother!) who went to the U.K. and married cash-poor British nobles after the snooty American upper crust snubbed them for being new money. And if you just want more celebrity fashion discussion, Genevieve Valentine (an author Anna has talked about here before) writes fabulous red carpet rundowns that discuss pretty dresses and how celebrity fashion is actually an elaborate, coded form of communication.

One comment on “The Royal We

  1. Anna says:

    I’m not sure this book is quite my thing (though, the cover really is cute!), but I did want to add that another thing that impressed me so much with Go Fug Yourself is how they make a point of only judging clothes that are clearly being worn for public consumption – there is no shaming a celebrity for wearing ratty jeans or sweatpants to run to the grocery store.

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