The first thing to know about this book is that it’s set in a slightly parallel universe with a slightly different British royal family, though the US politics are more recognisable. I found it a bit maddening trying to follow what was real and what was alternative, actually, because at one moment it’d be talking about Obama and the next it’d be talking about a fictional politician — but in the end I found it easiest to just go along with it. The stuff that’s important quickly becomes clear, and to behonest, I don’t need a vivid and accurate portrayal of a modern royal family. I know some people are sticklers for accuracy, but I can put up with a lot as long as I care about the characters/plot.
And oh, did I ever care. The two main characters are total idiots about many things, and certain aspects of the plot were deeply obvious, but nonetheless I was hooked on them — their idiotic banter and their emails, texts, phone calls; the way they wind their way into each others’ lives, despite never expecting to. The way they go out on a limb with their feelings, and eventually decide to make it work somehow. It’s great escapism, and the relationships between them and also those around them worked for me.
The triumphal note of the ending makes sense for the genre, but rings rather more hopefully than I’ve been feeling lately, given the trends in British politics. It’s nice to end on a high note, though.