Red, White, and Royal Blue

By Casey McQuiston

Royal_BlueOstensibly a romance novel (the first son of the United States falls into an affair with the second prince of England), Red, White, and Royal Blue is charming enough to lure the reader into some truly heart-wrenching looks at our current political climate.

Though the politics represented here are much improved over our current situation – the first female president is facing her reelection with a conservative but politically savvy Republican opponent – it still holds a mirror to how twisted our politics have gotten: where polls, focus groups, and image are everything, having completely superseded personal ethos.

This is a lot for a supposed romance novel, but it asks how much sacrifice can be demanded of individuals for a greater societal good? Is there a tipping point where the sacrifice becomes so big that it degrades the society around it? For me, it explored how asking people to hide who they truly are – sexuality in this book, but also ethnicity, religion, gender and countless other things – is not only poisonously corrosive to the individuals but weakens our entire society.

I had been looking forward to a fluffy romance to pass the time while I self-isolate in order to avoid being an additional contagion vector (how is our world like this right now?!), and was a bit grumpy to not actually get precisely that, but it is so moving, heartfelt, and ultimately optimistic that I couldn’t stay mad.

2 comments on “Red, White, and Royal Blue

  1. Kinsey says:

    I found all the political stuff an odd mix of optimistic and too-good-to-be-true, and there were a few places where I think she didn’t quite get her facts right on the royal family. But I LOVED the love story here and thought all the characters were so charming. It’s the book I’ve been recommending to everyone as something light to read.

    • Anna says:

      I know! The love story really is so beautiful and characters are so well written, which I guess is why I found the societal blocks so stressful to read about. I seem to be about the only person that did not find this a fluffy light read, though, so I may be bringing some extra baggage to my interpretation.

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