Title: Once Upon a Royal Christmas
Author: Robin Bielman
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Short novel
Colliding with a prince while dog walking isn’t how Rowan Palotay pictured meeting royalty, but then lately her life hasn’t gone according to plan. With one teensy tiny mistake, her job as a news reporter took a turn for the worse and now she’s lucky to have a small pet column in the local newspaper. Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and magic, but she feels like she’s forever stuck on the naughty list.
Prince Theodore Chenery is in Marietta shortly after the death of his mother to meet his grandparents for the first time. When an accidental run-in—literally—with Rowan leads to an unexpected friendship, he finds himself enchanted with the outspoken, feisty country girl. She’s unlike anyone he’s ever met and her special brand of kindness and honesty make it harder and harder to remember his obligations back home.
Rowan can’t afford one more mistake, and Theo’s future is already mapped out, but when they find it impossible to fight the passion and deep-rooted emotions between them, they discover what matters most. Until their relationship makes worldwide news…and Theo must decide whether or not to follow his heart or his royal duty.
Source: ARC from Tule Publishing via NetGalley
This book doesn’t start with a meet-cute so much as a meet-cringe. When it comes to making a great first impression, it’s safe to say Rowan’s not great at that. In fact, at first, I wasn’t sure whether I’d like her at all. She seems to stomp about, grumbling about the mistakes she’d made and how unfair it is because rules are rubbish and she shouldn’t be restricted by them.
Thankfully, she either settles down or changes into someone else, because that kind of behaviour vanishes quite early on. Instead, Rowan reveals herself to be a caring, good-hearted woman who is willing to do almost anything for those she cares about, is confident and outgoing and friendly – except for when it comes to her art – and quite unlike anyone Theo has met before.
Not that Theo is all that special (in a precious pretentious way, since he’s actually quite lovely). He is a prince who doesn’t act remotely princely or privileged. He’s just a nice guy meeting his grandparents for the first time and hanging out with Rowan in the snow. Their relationship is pretty adorable and they get on really well, with some hot chemistry bubbling beneath the surface.
I am a little confused about what Rowan did that caused her disgrace at the local paper, and the estrangement between Theo’s mother and his grandparents could have been explained a little deeper. Neither of them are explored with much detail, which left me curious on Rowan’s part and deeply confused over Theo, since his grandparents are lovely and clearly his mother was too. I also have no idea why Rowan walks those dogs every day. But they’re fairly minor things.
On the whole this is cute and enjoyable and easy, with lots of snow and Christmas goodness and a touch of Cinderella ball magic. It does tend to skim across the top of deeper emotions, but it still manages to be sweet and fun with a nice kick of heat at times. The characters are nice, the romance is cute and in all it’s another nice piece of the great Marietta puzzle and made excellent use of some familiar faces and places.
Once Upon a Royal Christmas is Out Now.
Visit Robin Bielman for more details.