27 October, 2012

Review: A Royal Pain by Megan Mulry

I'm going to classify this one as ChickLit rather than Contemporary Romance. While there is a relationship at the heart of it,  A Royal Pain is more Bronte's story than a story of Bronte and Max. Bronte was an interesting contradiction. She sees herself as rejecting elitism for popular culture. In fact, Bronte is more elitist then those against whom she rebelled. She works in an office where the boss either sends you home when you feel emotional or pops open a bottle of booze to soothe the afternoon away. She goes to parties where she meets the 10% (if not the 1%) and spends her free time studying Hello!. Bronte is already leading a life the average Contemporary Romance heroine aspires to.  A Royal Pain is the story of how Bronte learns to chill out and enjoy herself.

Max is a different story. He shows up where he's supposed to and does the things expected of him. He's not too good to be true, but he is too compliant to be understood. Where Bronte is a ball of disjointed emotion, Max is a calm and steady force forward. As a couple, the dynamic works. As a reader, I never understood why Max chose Bronte in particular. He goes all in on Bronte effectively at first sight. In the past it has been Bronte committing the sin of planning the wedding before dessert arrives, here it is Max doing so. He is sure Bronte is the woman for the rest of his life based on very little real world experience.  Bronte consistently lets Max down emotionally, yet he maintains his surety that she is his correct partner. I can understand Max wanting someone open, someone professionally successful but emotionally chaotic. I had trouble with him accepting Bronte in particular. "She's fun" isn't a great HEA recipe.

Bronte and Max both have parent issues. I would have liked to see Max's explored a bit more and Bronte's a bit less. (ok, Bronte's a LOT less.)  Neither family presents a real challenge to their union, most of the issues between Bronte and Max arise from Bronte's erratic choices and Max's inability to communicate. I liked Bronte on her own more than I liked her with Max. Their relationship seemed less like a completion of Bronte than another achievement in her portfolio. If I'd understood why Max was so invested or if Bronte had made more than token efforts on their relationship it would have worked more for me. Overall, A Royal Pain is a fun read and absolutely worth picking up.

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