royal scandal, the fictitious exiled royals of the isle of man escaped their homeland as children, with only their eldest brother, colin, of an age to care for them and honestly at nineteen he was a child himself. that's when he first meets della hughes, his seventeen year-old neighbor who has come to give him the what-for given that he's just evicted her stepmother.
colin never reveals the reasons why his family has fled to this hidden enclave in the carolinas. he doesn't share that the two baby boys he cares for are his brothers not his children. he never lets della in on his big secrets. but when parliament decides to offer him a deal to return, one that would make him king and also marry him off to a stranger he decides to take matters into his own hands. at the same time, his family is outed in the press as the exiled royal family and the secure enclave they'd retreated to all those years ago is under siege by the press.
so colin proposes to della. at first he proposes a marriage of convenience. but then he quickly changes his mind, because he's been in love with this woman for his entire adult life and she is already the de facto mother of his boys. so he seduces her into changing her mind. while colin has been busy keeping secrets from della, she's not innocent of being fully honest either. her big secret is that she is infertile. and actually it's the kind of infertile that there is no getting around with miracles. colin is remarkably blasé about this revelation. della takes the revelation that the boys she's always assumed to be his children are his brothers much harder.
and i think it's partly because there was so much other political drama involving these two as a couple that the additional bit of drama around della's lack of fertility felt underdeveloped. once she actually reveals her secret, it's kind of like an afterthought. which, i mean on the one hand, it's amazing that colin had no qualms about not being able to have biological children. on the other hand someone who was raised to believe in monarchy and lineage and preserving one's place in history would probably have a stronger reaction to the fact that their dna ends with them. a lot of colin's attitudes are actually remarkably progressive, but in a way that doesn't feel entirely earned. oh well.
**royal scandal will publish on january 24, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/random house publishing (loveswept) in exchange for my honest review.