Hereditary monarchy may not be known for letting its hair down, but at least it has the virtue of simplicity: there’s nothing quite like an inter-royal wedding for preventing war. While Princess Roanna of Chester’s Wake knows her duty—to marry the haughty ambassador from backwards Dawson’s Edge—there’s more than her feelings for Prince Benjamin of Lox frazzling her focus. Strange sensory phenomena have been afflicting her of late, and a clue from her past may unpin a cascade of dark secrets that shake the roots of royal power. With The Rejected Princess, Katie Clark has fashioned a cozy political thriller braided with thoughtful ambiguity and adorned with romance. Its characters are bright, its setting an amalgam of the medieval and the micro-electrical, and its social commentary delightfully understated. There’s more under this hat than meets the eye.
Best for: Teens and adults seeking romance, political intrigue, mystery, and modern monarchy.
Discern: References to war casualties and to “termination” (an abortion analogue), persistent sexual tension, some making out, and lots of ardent yearning.