REVIEW: Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick


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 Prince 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.

Just the facts: M/M romance, humor, irreverent about royalty

Laugh-out-loud funny, irreverent, romantic and quirky. – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit:

“Playing the Palace” by Paul Rudnick was pretty much everything I expected it to be and that’s good. This is a funny, quirky, irreverent novel about an American and his brush with the British Royal Family.

Carter Ogden has all but given up on love. He chooses instead to focus on his job as an event coordinator, his lovely friends, his supportive family, and even his irritating (yet amusing) boss. When he meets Prince Edgar – heir to the throne of England – they are drawn to each other instantly. Of course, there is a ton of responsibility and a lot of challenges when you begin seeing royalty and Carter doesn’t seem to have a handle on how to deal with any of them.

As Carter and Edgar try to date each other all kinds of ridiculousness ensue. Carter is plunged into a world in which everything that is instinctual to him is wrong! In excitement, he hugs Edgar and comes face to face with the way that royals are expected to be reserved in public. His friends get them Burger King crowns as a joke, and they sit in bed with them on and take a photo… and this is the point at which Carter learns his phone can be hacked.

This is one of the funniest depictions of royal I have read in a very long time. The Queen is ridiculously bitchy, outspoken, and demanding just as I had hoped. Her run-ins with Carter were some of my absolute favorite parts of the book. I loved the way that Rudnick managed to give Edgar some very authentic traits for someone who would have been raised in public life while still being able to poke fun at the royals.

The supporting characters in this book are hilarious. Edgar’s security team is efficient but funny and actually are the friends that Edgar hasn’t been able to have because of his lot in life. Carter’s friends, on the other hand, were the glue holding him together. The friends/roommates were some of the funniest and most entertaining characters I have read in a very long time. I often found myself giggling aloud at their antics and that’s not all that common!

About the only thing that bothered me a little was the speed at which Carter and Edgar’s emotional connection to one another progressed. I felt as though I had missed a bit when after a few weeks together there was already love in the air. But let’s face it… this is a bit of a fairy tale and once Carter had his Prince it would be tempting to just go all in despite the roadblocks.

If you like the humor of T.J. Klune and Alexis Hall, then you should be adding Paul Rudnick to your list of authors. This was a great book, pure entertainment!

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) an incident is interpreted as infidelity (it is not and is clarified later), vomiting due to food poisoning.

Links: Goodreads // The Author //

I received an ARC of Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick from Berkley Publishing Group via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

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