Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 5642
interesting royal romance that would appeal to a younger audience
(Updated: April 30, 2020)
Overall rating
Writing Style
THE BETROTHED is a YA romance that follows Hollis, a young woman who has her eyes on the crown. Although the King has flirted with other ladies, they have been passing fancies, and Hollis is the latest to catch his eye. He sends her lavish gifts and they spend little time together, but Hollis thinks she is prepared to marry him and wear the crown. While other courtiers think she may be too young and naive to fill the role of queen, Hollis wants to prove them wrong- and Jameson (king) wants to do the same.

Jameson begins giving Hollis a chance to make decisions with him when they receive a foreign family seeking asylum. It continues when foreign royalty visit, and Hollis accompanies Jameson as he hosts the other King and Queen. As this trip continues, Hollis begins to realize that being queen is not everything she had hoped it would be.

What I loved: The book moves very quickly, and the pacing is fast. Combined with the characterizations, this book feels appropriate for a younger (middle grade, maybe) audience. It's very clean with only a few kisses, and so this would appeal to younger readers as an early romantic read. It is certainly engaging enough to keep reading until the end. This is the biggest strength of the read in that it is interesting and does keep the reader guessing until the end.

What left me wanting more: Hollis comes across as one-dimensional, very naive, and sometimes foolish. She makes brash decisions, and does not question much. I would have liked more oomph behind her character with more motivations and backstory. The same would be helpful for the secondary characters, including Jameson, Delia Grace (who had a lot of potential but fell a bit flat), and Silas (the other love interest). The romance also felt pretty forced, and I would have liked more build-up. Instead, it reads like insta-love and did not feel substantial or solid. Considering the later events, more build-up would have been warranted for the way Hollis takes things.

Final verdict: Engaging and appropriate for a younger audience, THE BETROTHED is an engaging and fast-paced romantic read. Would recommend to younger (middle grade) readers who are looking for royal romances.
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