He’s not handling it well.
Hoping to help her grandson to rise to the occasion, Queen Lenora agrees to give him "space"—but while the Queen’s away, the Prince will play. After a chance meeting with an American television producer, Henry finally makes a decision all on his own:
Welcome to Matched: Royal Edition.
A reality TV dating game show featuring twenty of the world's most beautiful blue bloods gathered in the same castle. Only one will win the diamond tiara, only one will capture the handsome prince’s heart.
While Henry revels in the sexy, raunchy antics of the contestants as they fight, literally, for his affection, it’s the quiet, bespectacled girl in the corner—with the voice of an angel and a body that would tempt a saint—who catches his eye.
The more Henry gets to know Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum, the more enamored he becomes of her simple beauty, her strength, her kind spirit... and her naughty sense of humor.
But Rome wasn’t built in a day—and irresponsible royals aren’t reformed overnight.
As he endeavors to right his wrongs, old words take on whole new meanings for the dashing Prince. Words like, Duty, Honor and most of all—Love.
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On the surface, this book sounds like nothing more than The Bachelor: Royal Edition mixed with Girls Gone Wild. But once you start the story, you realize there is actually so much more under the surface. Henry is not handling the abrupt change of station in his life well; we've heard the term "an heir and a spare". Seems the spare is now on track to become King of Wessco since the heir abdicated, and Henry's beloved grandmother, Queen Lenora, is becoming more and more frustrated with Henry's lack of effort to learn everything he'll need to know before ascending to the throne.
Henry is that type of character that you are instantly drawn to, not because of his outlandish behavior, but because of the charm he emits naturally. He makes you want to be in his sphere because of his jovial presence, but that's partly a cover because he feels like he won't do a good job governing the citizens of Wessco. Sarah is a librarian who simply wants to do her job well out of the spotlight, until she'll be put front and center at an upcoming symposium. Doesn't sound so bad, but when you have a distinct fear of public speaking, that announcement becomes the stuff of nightmares. Salvation for Sarah comes from the strangest of sources, but it's what gets Henry and Sarah in the same atmosphere.
I loved watching their friendship develop, Sarah is a quiet presence, assertive when needed, but she too has a way about her that makes you pause and take notice of what she's saying. Would it seem impossible that the future king would fall in love with a quiet librarian? I thought they were the perfect balance for each other. Don't get me wrong, this isn't simply a story about two people falling in love during a reality show; it's more of a story of two people who are broken in their own coming together in unusual circumstances and eventually fall in love. But we know with a reality show there will be drama, but it's all well blended into the story.
I loved Emma Chase's Tangled series; how can you not love Drew? I loved Drew until I read Jake's story; Jake pushed Drew back for me. But Henry? Hands down my absolute favorite Emma Chase character. He's written in such a way that you want nothing more than to just absorb his troubles and help him heal and see himself for what he truly is: a man worthy of loving, being loved and strong enough to lead his country in the right direction. After this book, I'm not sure how Ms. Chase will be able to top Henry for her future characters, I know from now on I'll be measuring each new male protagonist against Henry. Well done Ms. Chase on another stellar book!