Review: Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick

Review: Playing the Palace by Paul RudnickPlaying the Palace by Paul Rudnick
Published by Berkley Books on May 25, 2021
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Buy on Amazon


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.

I read this book back in June 2021, but I somehow forgot to review it after I finished it. Probably because it was a highly anticipated release for me, but I really didn’t end up enjoying it, unfortunately. The writing was all over the place, choppy and stilted and really awkward. It also leaned heavy on “tell” instead of “show” when it comes to the “show don’t tell” style of writing. It wasn’t very descriptive at all. It was almost like a bland, surface description of everything. I love cheeseball stuff, but this was… super cheeseball. I know that’s not a super professional way to describe something in a review, but I can’t figure out a better way right now. The book was also way too short, and everything seemed to happen way too fast and in an almost unrealistic timeframe/way.

Because the story was very short and too fast-paced, I also really couldn’t get into any of the characters because I just felt like I never really got to know them well. I wanted to learn more about them and their lives but I really wasn’t able to. A lot of things didn’t make sense and relied heavily on stereotypes.

I did love the broadway references and the whole “prince with normal person” trope – I love books that have a normal person dating some kind of celebrity. But that was about it.

I really did want to love this book, and I’m still glad I read it and still glad it exists. But I won’t be recommending it or re-reading it anytime soon.