Review: Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick

PLAYING THE PALACE
Paul Rudnick
Publication date: May 25, 2021
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary, LGBTQ
Format: eARC
Source: Berkley and Netgalley
4.5 Stars

When a lonely American event planner starts dating the gay Prince of Wales, a royal uproar ensues: is it true love or the ultimate meme? Find out in this hilarious romantic comedy.

After having his heart trampled on by his cheating ex, Carter Ogden is afraid love just isn’t in the cards for him. He still holds out hope in a tiny corner of his heart, but even in his wildest dreams he never thought he’d meet the Crown Prince of England, much less do a lot more with him. Yes, growing up he’d fantasized about the handsome, openly gay Prince Edgar, but who hadn’t? When they meet by chance at an event Carter’s boss is organizing, Carter’s sure he imagined all that sizzling chemistry. Or was it mutual?

This unlikely but meant-to-be romance sets off media fireworks on both sides of the Atlantic. With everyone having an opinion on their relationship and the intense pressure of being constantly in the spotlight, Carter finds ferocious obstacles to his Happily Ever After, including the tenacious disapproval of the Queen of England. Carter and Price Edgar fight for a happy ending to equal their glorious international beginning. It’s a match made on Valentine’s Day and in tabloid heaven. 

Say hello to one of my new favorites of 2021! Playing the Palace was an unexpected gem of a story and it hooked me from page one. I fell head over heels for hapless Carter Ogden and (understandably) reticent Prince Edgar. Event planner Carter, in all his neurotic, self-sabotaging glory, meets England’s Prince Edgar and sparks fly. From a pancake date at IHOP to a stay at Buckingham palace, Carter and Edgar’s whirlwind romance spans two continents and includes plenty of over the top hilarity. As Carter and Edgar go public with their relationship, there are gaffes and humiliations galore (including guest spots judging a televised baking competition with disastrous results), and even the Queen herself (Edgar’s beloved “Nana”) seems intent on sending Carter slinking back to New Jersey in disgrace. Are Carter and Edgar doomed, or can they overcome what seems to be insurmountable obstacles and find a happily ever after?

With an incredible cast of quirky side characters (shout-outs to Carter’s sister Abby, his great-aunt Miriam, and the Queen), Playing the Palace was a nonstop ride of snarky, laugh-out-loud humor. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and instead delivers a campy, frothy good time full of pop culture references and a wickedly funny narrative. An instant new favorite that I know I’ll return to again and again.


Disclosure: I received a complimentary advance copy of this book for review. This does not impact my opinion of the book or the content of this review. I received no compensation and my review is voluntary.

PLAYING THE PALACE
RELEASES ON MAY 25, 2021

YOU CAN FIND PLAYING THE PALACE HERE:

22 comments

  1. I love books about royalty, especially books that reimagine the British royal family, so this sounds like a great read!

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    1. This one was definitely played for laughs... and was so much fun. :)

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  2. This cover is a total turn-off for me, so it wouldn't have called to me to even read the blurb. So it's kind of fun to read your review and see how much you loved it.

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    1. Yeah, the cover is not my favorite (I'm so sick of illustrated covers I could scream) but the inside more than makes up for it. :)

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  3. I've been really curious about this one, so I'm happy to see you enjoyed it! I also love it when the secondary/side characters get a lot of page time. :)

    Hi! How are you? I've missed you! I hope you and yours are doing well. <3

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

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    1. Hey there! So good to hear from you, girl! :) The cast of secondary characters in this one almost stole the show. :) They were so great!

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  4. This sounds like such a cute read! I really enjoyed Red White and Royal Blue, and this one seems to be quite similar. Great review!

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    1. Well, it's m/m and includes royalty but that's where the similarities to RW&RB ends. This one is very much played for laughs and it such a good time. :)

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  5. You had my heart at pancake date, but quirky and pop culture are two more reasons I would like this. This sounds really wonderful.

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    1. I think you would enjoy it, Sam. It was such a feel-good story.

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  6. I was fearing it sounded too much like Red, White and Royal Blue...even the cover loosk like it but your review makes it so tempting!

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    1. I guess the comparisons are inevitable (unfortunately) but it's truly its own story.

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  7. Oh, I love the sound of this book! The characters in this book sound fantastic.

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    1. It was a great reading experience - so much fun. :)

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  8. I just finished this book over the weekend and thought it was absolutely delightful, for all of the reasons you mentioned. Carter and Edgar were so adorable and Carter's family was such a hoot, lol.

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    1. Yes! I just loved Carter and Edgar together (despite themselves) and Carter's family was hilarious.

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  9. Quirky characters, and snarky humor? I love it! I'll have to check this one out. Wonderful review, Tanya!

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  10. I am so glad you loved this one. I've been wanting to read it FOREVER now, and I can't believe it comes out next week. It sounds so fun and amusing and the perfect summer read.

    Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  11. I'm glad you enjoyed this one so much. I loved the side characters more than the main couple and over-the-top doesn't work for me but this will be a fun summer read for people.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. What's weird is that I am NOT a fan of OTT and had I known that going in I probably would have passed on it. But it totally worked for me here!

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