If you want a sexy and aspirational romance novel that includes a driven and strong female lead and a hero who uses his power for good, then you need to read American Royalty.

“Dani braced her palms against the railing and inhaled the air. With a little time and distance, it was hard to fathom how she’d let the prince get under her skin. Sure, when he’d shoved a hand through his hair and stared off across the lake, lust had dampened her panties. The man had actual chiseled features! But it was the jet lag. It had to be. She’d get some rest and she’d feel better.

Even if it fucking killed her.”

Sexy, driven rapper Danielle “Duchess” Nelson is on the verge of signing a deal that’ll make her one of the richest women in hip hop. More importantly, it’ll grant her control over her life, something she’s craved for years. But an incident with a rising pop star has gone viral, unfairly putting her deal in jeopardy. Concerned about her image, she’s instructed to work on generating some positive publicity… or else.

A brilliant professor and reclusive royal, Prince Jameson prefers life out of the spotlight, only leaving his ivory tower to attend weddings or funerals. But with the Queen’s children involved in one scandal after another, and Parliament questioning the viability of the monarchy, the Queen is desperate. In a quest for good press, she puts Jameson in charge of a tribute concert in her late husband’s honor. Out of his depth, and resentful of being called to service, he takes the advice of a student. After all, what’s more appropriate for a royal concert than a performer named “Duchess”?

Too late, Jameson discovers the American rapper is popular, sexy, raunchy and not what the Queen wanted, although he’s having an entirely different reaction. Dani knows this is the good exposure she needs to cement her deal and it doesn’t hurt that the royal running things is fine as hell. Thrown together, they give in to the explosive attraction flaring between them. But as the glare of the limelight intensifies and outside forces try to interfere, will the Prince and Duchess be a fairy tale romance for the ages or a disaster of palatial proportions?

This book is on fire. I devoured it. I loved it so much. This is such a fun and feisty contemporary romance, and it marries two of my favourite tropes: the rockstar celebrity and royalty. It’s gooey and gossipy and sexy and needs to be on your summer reads list. There’s drama and intrigue, family scandals and loyal friends. 

American Royalty is a contemporary romance and it deals with today’s global issues so well. It’s got a strong feminist streak in it: Duchess, or rather Dani works hard for her life and isn’t looking for anyone to derail it: be that a man, some cruel gossip or people who should have her back and don’t. Dani is self made and is going to keep herself safe and fulfilled. I freaking loved Dani. Her introspection into what drives her, where she came from, her challenging childhood and why she needs to succeed helped create a really fleshed out and genuine character that I adored. I want a sequel just to see more of her!

The book also tackles racism, classism and the role of celebrity in today’s world. I was expecting a glossy retelling of Harry and Meghan’s story, but instead, Tracey took the love affair between a Black American celebrity and a British monarch to a fascinating and deeper level. 

American Royalty is a dual point of view story and it works so well. I wasn’t convinced that I loved the prince, Jameson, at first and getting a bit inside of his head and seeing life from his perspective helped. He was still a little too “poor little rich boy” for me for a solid chunk of the book, but once he started to show his vulnerability, I was sold. This book has some serious steam. I loved the heat between Dani and Jameson. They have off the charts chemistry – and while the instant Friends with Benefit vibe threw me a bit (they get naked together really quickly) I loved how it then let their actual relationship build.

I really loved American Royalty. It’s a fun ride with vibes and experiences ripped from the pages of the news. 

Thank you HarperCollins Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.