Royal Blood

­Delacorte. Mar. 2023. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593485897.
Gr 7 Up–Seventeen-year-old Evangeline “Evan” Bright has been expelled from her ninth boarding school. This time, however, rather than being shuffled off elsewhere to finish up her education, she’s brought to live with her father—who happens to be the king of the United Kingdom. This is a super awkward introduction to court life at Windsor Castle—she is less than welcome. Her dad doesn’t know she’s coming, and as she is the illegitimate product of an affair, her stepmother and half-sister are less than thrilled to have her on the scene. Nevertheless, even a lesser bedroom at Windsor Castle is the stuff of fantasy, and being styled for a public introduction has its appeal. Meanwhile, the paparazzi can’t get enough of Evan, and when she is slipped a date rape drug at a party, tongues are set wagging—even more so when the perpetrator is found dead, and Evan has only blurry memories of the evening. Love interests abound, but are handled very discreetly, limited to hand holding and a single kiss. Even the attempted sexual assault is a fade out. Set in modern London, it’s a very white cast, with an alternate history where King Edward VIII never abdicated creates a unique lineage that avoids tangling up with any current royals.
VERDICT Modern romance at its very best—with opulence and a dash of mystery. Carter has a dedicated following and they will likely follow her here, too.

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