Book or Movie Review

Red, White, and Royal Blue – a reading writer’s perspective

Sep 04, 2023 by James Weems

I haven’t seen the movie. I saw the trailer and several promotional clips for the movie, so based on that, it looks like the film tracks the book pretty faithfully.


I read the ebook by Casey McQuiston. I had planned to read a few chapters, then sleep, and resume reading the next day. The book would not allow me that luxury.


I’m not going to go through this enemies to lovers romance in detail. For that, you’ll need to do what you should already have done or have on your “To Do” List: Read the book.


The story unfolds at a perfect “can’t stop reading” pace. The meeting at the Royal Wedding – featured prominently in the trailer for the movie – is a classic bit in the book. The scene reminds me of old-time slapstick humor – think Marx brothers, Red Skelton, or Lucy (if you’re my age or love old TV), but with a definite modern twist to it.


The American half of the central couple goes from clueless to in love over the course of the book. It’s around 400 pages, but it moves so fast you don’t feel you’re reading “War and Peace” or “Moby Dick.” There are references to political situations, without being overtly political. You don’t feel a sense of politicization so much as a feeling of “nice touch, pointing out that craziness.”


Yes, there is a definite sense of craziness; there’s a Presidential election going on in America, and Alex, the “first son” who falls for the heir to the British throne, wants to help his mother get re-elected as the first woman president. Meanwhile, across the pond, Henry, the English half of the couple, has to deal with his “gram,” Queen Mary. She’s a traditionalist in her 80s who wants Henry to find a “suitable” woman to marry and “produce heirs” as is his duty to the Crown. Some job description!


There are the bones of the story. At first Alex and Henry seem to hate each other… until they don’t.