Review: Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

“No one talks to me like you do,” she says, and I scoff.

“Honestly, Flora, I think that’s half your problem.”

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Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else.

And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools…the farther from Houston the better. Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute. The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim… after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale…or is it? 

My reading experience with HRH was fluid, fun, and captivating. I flew through this book in 3 days because the writing is simple, meaning the character interactions were not overly complicated and felt like something you’d hear real people actually say.

Romance is obviously the focus of this book. The MC Millie is on-the-page bisexual and has a supportive friend and family group surrounding her. Flora is lesbian, though her Royal Family largely ignores it and treats it as a “phase.”

The romance between Millie and Flora could be described as enemies to lovers, though the “enemy” part of their relationship is relatively brief and not very intense. (It’s more like bickering and mere tolerance rather than “I absolutely despise you.”)

Character development largely happens through the book’s multiple subplots, during which the relationship dynamic between the two shifts. At these times, we the readers get insight into the personalities of the MCs and the ways in which they compliment each other. I think this is one of the reasons I enjoyed HRH so much: it’s a great example of how subplots provide opportunity for character development and changes in relationship dynamics.

“Are we friends now?” I blurt out, and Flora raises her eyebrows at me.

“I suppose so,” she says.

I also wanted to mention how much I enjoyed the friendships made throughout the book. Again, Hawkins, for the most part did a fantastic job with character interactions being simple, relatable, and humorous. I really liked Saski as a side character, and I see that her purpose in the book is to really bring out the best in Millie.

Lastly, though this book is very lighthearted and doesn’t deeply explore any of the topics below, there are a few conversation points that could be generated from reading this book, such as:

  • Humility of royalty
  • Self-doubt and insecurity
  • Single-parent household/step-parent relationships
  • Running from your problems rather than facing them

Though I thoroughly enjoyed HRH for the most part, there are two main things that bugged me about it. The first being the fact that Millie is often unnecessarily judgmental about the people she meets. Even though it is all internal dialogue and therefore doesn’t make her a “mean girl” to the characters around her, I found it to be a little bit irritating. For example, here is one instance I highlighted to refer back to:

“I blink, wondering if she really did just call him ‘Sherbert,’ but then he’s setting her down and offering me his hand to shake.

‘Hullo, I’m Sherbourne.’

Ah, okay. Still not really a name, but not a frozen dessert either, so I’ll take it.”

To me, this is an instance where an attempt at humor is ineffective and unnecessary. There are a few moments similar to this one throughout the book, and early on, it made me question if Millie would be a MC I’d like.

The only other complaint I have about HRH is that it has a few stereotypical tropes that I felt were unnecessary to Millie and Flora’s story. For instance, the “redemption arc” at the end of the book was very…cheesy and I honestly think the romance would’ve still been solidified without that last subplot.

There are also archetypal characters that simply filled the space and act as a catalyst for a subplot. (i.e. the “mean girls” of the book).

Chat with me! If you’ve read HRH, what did you think of it? Let me know below!

4 thoughts on “Review: Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

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