Book: Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud
Release Date: July 30, 2019
My Rating: 3.25 stars
Rep: ownvoices Black protagonist and side characters
Summary: Fiercely independent and smart, Zora Emerson wants to change the world. She’s excited to be attending a prestigious summer program, even if she feels out of place among her privileged, mostly white classmates. So she’s definitely not expecting to feel a connection to Owen, who’s an actual prince of an island off the coast of England. But Owen is funny, charming…and undeniably cute. Zora can’t ignore the chemistry between them. When Owen invites Zora to be his date at his big brother’s big royal wedding, Zora is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, along with her family and friends. Everyone is talking about her, in real life and online, and while Owen is used to the scrutiny, Zora’s not sure it’s something she can live with. Can she maintain her sense of self while moving between two very different worlds? And can her feelings for Owen survive and thrive in the midst of the crazy? Find out in this charming romantic comedy that’s like The Princess Diaries for a new generation.
I’m super happy to be a part of the blog tour for Truly Madly Royally! Today, my stop includes my review as well as a playlist I made for the book. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour, schedule below!
“Zora, between the two of us, you’re the true royalty,” he says.
Ever since I saw the cover of Truly Madly Royally, I was intrigued. I always love royalty books, so having one with a woman of color, a Black girl, at the forefront was amazing. However, this book focuses not just on the romance but also on Zora’s life overall.
Zora and Owen meet at summer classes at a local university. I liked this aspect because it was a really natural setting for them to meet. The class also furthered Zora’s plot line outside of the romance.
I really loved that this book didn’t just focus on their romance; that would have made for a very typical royal romance book. Rather, Zora had her community outreach project, one that she devotes a lot of time to. It was really nice to see her relationships with the kids who are involved.
Another difference between Truly Madly Royally and other royal romances is that Zora is Black. This, of course, sets her apart from Owen’s world. She faces racism there, even with Owen’s older brother marrying a biracial Black woman. There’s all sorts of stigma there, but it was nice to see Zora and her mother’s enthusiasm at the bride and her representation at the wedding.
How amazing for brown girls watching back home to see themselves reflected in this way.
I will say that all the royal wedding stuff doesn’t even happen until the last third. Much of the book is Zora rejecting Owen or spending more time with her community outreach project. I guess this did give more time for their relationship to develop.
Unfortunately, Owen is such a stock character that it was difficult to read his scenes with Zora sometimes. Everything about him was very bland, and his part of the dialogue was almost cringe-y.
Overall, Truly Madly Royally was a cute read, perfect for this summer. If you like royal romances, you’ll like this one! Pick it up July 31st.
Here’s a playlist I made for the book:
About the Author: YA author Debbie M. Rigaud began her writing career covering news and entertainment for magazines. She’s interviewed celebs, politicians, social figures and “real” girls. Her writing has appeared in Seventeen, CosmoGIRL!, Essence, J-14, Trace, Heart&Soul and Vibe Vixen, to name a few. Her first YA fiction writing was published in the anthology HALLWAY DIARIES (KimaniTru Press/September 2007). Her first standalone YA book–a Simon Pulse romantic comedy titled PERFECT SHOT–is due out in the Fall of 2009.