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The Trouble with Romance

I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person that gets easily carried away with things. It’s just my personality.

If I love something, I really, really love it and want to talk about it with anyone who shows a mild interest in the same topic. Like Project Runway this season= love it!! I already have favorites and have asked all my friends, family and co-workers who their favorites are and if they watch the season.

If people say they haven’t watched it or have never heard of it (hence, living hermit-like lives), then I always follow up my spiel with, “I think you would really like! We could always watch it together!” I’m always looking for allies 🙂

Likewise, my overethusiastic-ness is also translated into book reading.

As Mr. Collins says in Pride and Prejudice, “I am run away with my feelings…” Only, I really mean it and am not just saying it to get Elizabeth Bennet to marry me. 🙂

Sometimes I get carried away with the romantic appeal of books and disregard how little fantasy in is novels. Why? Because I think romance ties a story together. Given the right amount of angst, unrequited feelings and miscommunication, romance can really keep the pages turning.

I recently read a book very much like this: heavy on relationships/romantic feelings with very little regard for any fantasy elements. I surprisingly didn’t mind though- The Trouble with Kings by Sherwood Smith is a book that does a lot of things very well.


  • Making sure the romance was believable and not ridiculously gushy and sentimental. When Flian, the heroine, first meets her eventual love, she hates him. And, believe me, that dose not count as a spoiler because she hates a lot of the men who are first introduced in the book.
  • The story involves princesses and, as the title gives away, kings. With courtly novels, authors can have a tendency to get carried away with politics and court intrigue. Personally, I am of the belief that only mild politics belongs in fantasy novels. It gets too heavy and bogged down, otherwise. Smith does a great job of adding in realistic situations that princesses and kings would be involved in but makes it easy for readers to understand and follow along.
  • Flian, a princess, is likable, nothing too extraordinary to look at and very tangible. She loves music and nice gardens (me, too!!!) and just feels like a real person- complete with admirable traits and serious shortomings.

Things that fell a little flat for me:

  • Not enough details about actual feelings and actions, etc. If there’s going to be romance, let’s see some actual romance!! Flian’s story is told event to event. There isn’t a lot of personal ponderings or insights into confusing feelings. It’s pretty straightforward.
  • Like I mentioned before- there wasn’t a lot of fantasy in this story. Flian kinda sees images of faces in water or glass surfaces. This is explained as the magic returning to the world. …the end. This area was not explored at all, and honestly, didn’t serve any purpose in the novel.
  • The first half of the novel seems choppy because, like I said, the story is told from “this happened” to “the next thing happened.” I want background information. I want hidden character stories that aren’t reveled till the end. This novel is very straightforward with very little extra juicy parts that keep you wanting more.
Monet's Garden

The Trouble with Kings is a quick read with interestingly painted characters and adventures. It’s like eating a bruised apple: satisfying but not every bite is as savory as the last.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.