Family can be complicated. Especially when skeletons from the past pop up unexpectedly. For American Evie Gray, finding out her deceased mother had a secret identity, and not one of the caped crusader variety, was quite the surprise. Evie’s mom had a secret life before she was even born, one that involved tiaras. In this modern day fairytale, Evie is on a path to figure out who her mom really was, while discovering for herself what the future will hold. Charged with her late mother’s letters, Evie embarks on a quest into her past. The first item on the list is to attend Oxford, her mom’s alma mater. There, Evie stumbles upon a real life prince charming, Edmund Stuart the second Prince of England, who is all too happy to be the counterpart to her damsel in distress. Evie can’t resist her growing attraction to Edmund as they spend more time together trying to unravel the clues her mother left behind. But, when doubts arise as to whether or not Edmund could ever be with an untitled American, what really ends up unraveling is Evie’s heart. When Evie uncovers all the facts about her mom’s former life, she realizes her mom’s past can open doors she never dreamed possible, doors that can help her be with Edmund. But, with everything now unveiled, Evie starts to crack under the pressure of new family responsibilities and the realization that her perfect prince may want her for all the wrong reasons.
The Heir and the SpareFeatured
What worked: I really enjoyed this light romance where an American girl finds out that she might have more in common with English royalty that she thought. The chemistry between Evie and Edmund starts off right on the first day she's at Oxford. There's a lot to like about both of them. Edmund is charming, down to Earth, and not ashamed to be around 'commoners'.
Evie attending Oxford is not the only thing that reminds her of her mother. She receives letters that include hints on directing her to the truth about her mother. Edmund gets involved and the chemistry really ignites.
Evie's spunk helps her stand up to nasty Jax and others who brush her off as beneath them. I liked how she didn't back down but also wasn't a push over.
This is kind of like a more mature Princess Diaries meets the prince of England. I know I wanted them to connect.
Some things that I did have problems with was the stereotypical witch Jax, the girl with royal lineage that is just assumed to marry Edmund. Some of her nastiness went way over the top. There wasn't anything likable about her at all.
I also wanted to see more of the Oxford campus other than than the cafeteria and dorm rooms. Readers do get a few glimpses into Evie's classes but mostly how close she sits to Edmund. It would have been fun to see more interaction between other students.
Light romantic tale where an American girl finds that fairy tale endings do exist. Add a cute English prince and a mystery to the mix for one exciting tale.
2. Royalty love interest
Anyway, let's dive into the book.
THE HEIR AND THE SPARE has Evie as its main character and narrator. She is an American in the United Kingdom, going on a quest her mother sent her own. What she might find will most definitely change her life forever, but first of all... She has attracted the eye of the younger British prince along with a entire cloud of paparazzis. In addition to all of these happenings, Evie sounds more like a young teenager than an older teen when she internally thinks. I can't help but notice one of YABC's staff reviewer's statuses of how immature she is. (I wholeheartedly agree, but that is most definitely part of her character.)
The world building is severely underdeveloped. Even though Evie is attending Oxford University, there is not a single scene (that I can recall) where she actually attends Oxford and talks about what she sees and how she feels when she looks at that campus. The book jumps from several places, but the author doesn't go really into depth. (E.g. Paris, America...) But there are a few exceptions. One of them is London.
The plot stars on the mystery of Evie's mother. The solution is way too easy to predict, but it's fun to watch Evie (finally!) figure everything out and get her prince in the end. Though there are several moments where the plot just turns and becomes way too coincidental for me. Things just fall into Evie's lap, and I wish that she worked for it. But despite the easiness and little amount of suffering Evie had, the story is enjoyable and fun to read. Never boring, never dull.
Overall, this book is for those who love the PRINCESS DIARIES and its movies. Think of this book as a mashup between the first and second movie with a dash of Smoking!Grandma from the actual book itself. THE HEIR AND THE SPARE is totally perfect for someone who is looking for a light, very cheesy, and fluffy read that isn't too serious for the brain.
Rating: Three out of Five
Her romance with Prince Edmund wasn’t my favorite. There was a lot of “are we together or are we not” going on for around 3/4 of the book and after a while it got a little bit tiring. Instead of them dating and getting to know each other, which is what I had expected, their relationship became more of an instant attraction with moments of romance. Most of the time they were wondering where they stood with each other in the relationship.
I preferred reading about the adventures that she had with Edmund while learning about her mothers past than reading about their relationship.
Overall, I did enjoy The Heir and the Spare. I did like how towards the end when she discovers more about her mothers past that we could see how difficult it was for her to assimilate to her new life and position. I do wish that this story line had been further developed because it made Evie become a much more in depth character. Other than that I would recommend The Heir and the Spare to any contemporary lover or London enthusiast.