Review posted October 30, 2023
Listening Library, 2023. 10 hours, 21 minutes.
Review written October 25, 2023, from a library eaudiobook.
Royal Blood is a contemporary mystery about an American girl who is secretly the illegitimate daughter of the King of England. No, not Charles -- this book looks at a modern world where King Edward VIII didn't abdicate for Wallis Simpson and lived out his reign with a queen his family approved of. Now in 2023, Alexander, son of Edward IX, is on the throne.
Evangeline Bright has never met her father -- that she can remember. But he's been supporting her since she was eleven years old and her grandma died. Evan's mother has schizophrenia, but it's under control with medication. Evan keeps getting herself kicked out of boarding schools, hoping she'll get to go home to her mother. But when this book opens, her attempt to burn the school's grade book got out of control, and at almost eighteen years old, she's got a potential felony pending. So when Jenkins, the liaison with her father, comes to help, he decides it's time for her to get out of the country and go to England.
Her half-sister Maisie, the heir to the throne, isn't thrilled to meet her, but Queen Helene even less so. And that's nothing to what happens when the press gets wind of her existence.
However, that's all just the beginning. The real trouble ensues when a charming rich boy attempts to sexually assault her at a party -- and ends up dead. Did Evan kill him? She's not even sure because the details of that night are hazy. But if she didn't, then who did?
This story could get tawdry, but it's told with heart, as Evan thinks about what makes a family and learns more about what makes her famous one. The book doesn't feel like a gossip rag, but a novel of a teen in an extraordinary situation where she doesn't know whom she can trust.
It turns out there's a set-up to make this the start of a series. Yes, I find that I'm looking forward to spending more time with this American girl who's finding her place in the British royal family.