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The Heir and the Spare

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Family can be complicated. Especially when skeletons from the past pop up unexpectedly. For American Evie Gray, finding out her deceased mother had a secret identity, and not one of the caped crusader variety, was quite the surprise. Evie’s mom had a secret life before she was even born, one that involved tiaras.

In this modern day fairytale, Evie is on a path to figure out who her mom really was, while discovering for herself what the future will hold. Charged with her late mother’s letters, Evie embarks on a quest into her past. The first item on the list is to attend Oxford, her mom’s alma mater. There, Evie stumbles upon a real life prince charming, Edmund Stuart the second Prince of England, who is all too happy to be the counterpart to her damsel in distress.

Evie can’t resist her growing attraction to Edmund as they spend more time together trying to unravel the clues her mother left behind. But, when doubts arise as to whether or not Edmund could ever be with an untitled American, what really ends up unraveling is Evie’s heart. When Evie uncovers all the facts about her mom’s former life, she realizes her mom’s past can open doors she never dreamed possible, doors that can help her be with Edmund. But, with everything now unveiled, Evie starts to crack under the pressure of new family responsibilities and the realization that her perfect prince may want her for all the wrong reasons.

288 pages, Hardcover

First published December 4, 2015

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About the author

Emily Albright

3 books236 followers
Emily Albright is the author of EVERYDAY MAGIC and THE HEIR AND THE SPARE, both available now from Simon Pulse. Her next novel PERFECT HARMONY will release 9.25.2018.

She's a writer, a major bookworm, a lover of romantic movies, a wife, a mother, an owner of one adorable (yet slightly insane) cockapoo, and uses way too many :).

Visit her facebook.

Find her on Twitter.

Or check out her website.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 608 reviews
Profile Image for Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries).
1,203 reviews391 followers
February 11, 2021
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I got from the publisher.
*one character is described as being “mocha-skinned;” no points ever for describing POC skin with food
*lesbian couple tacked on at the end

I came for the cute and stayed because The Heir and the Spare was a review book. Solely because it was a review book. I had some hope at first that things would get better, but that hope was extinguished the first time I came across the words “Miss BitchyBoobsInYourFace” as a nickname for a character Evie dislikes for flirting with her love interest Edmund. This is just the start of what’s wrong with Evie and Edmund’s love story.

If all readers want is a wish fulfillment romance with a stand-in for Prince Harry, that’s exactly what they’ll get. It’s not something I particularly, but I recognize the market for them as much as I recognize the very profitable market for boy band romances. Still, if something is executed well, I’ll be excited for and about it regardless. If The Heir and the Spare had partaken in fewer sins of storytelling, I would have enjoyed it for exactly what it was. Alas, that didn’t happen.

Evie is nineteen and turns twenty roughly halfway through the novel, but her voice and thoughts are akin to a fifteen-year-old’s. Her very clever nickname “Miss BitchyBoobsInYourFace” was something I would have been above at fourteen and definitely wouldn’t have bothered with at her age. By then, I would call a person a fuckwart or shitwaffle. At the very least, there’s the tried-and-true “Bitchtits” or mildly more creative “Bitch ‘n Tits” Evie could have used, but she went for a nickname that makes it sound more like the girl’s breasts are angry because her horrible bra pushes them halfway out of her shirt. That just makes me want to take her somewhere she can be measured for a bra properly.

But we’re supposed to see her “clever” insult and still think she was intelligent or outstanding enough to earn admission to Oxford as an American student. Admittedly, she’s legacy through both parents, but it still wouldn’t be that easy. A person from my college is currently in grad school there and he worked his ass off for admission and scholarships! Lots of active involvement on campus, stellar grades, involvement in the school’s Honors Program as a mentor, being appointed to the school’s student hall of fame,… There’s a reason Oxford is one of the most renowned school in the world and Evie fails to convince me she’s earned her place among their ranks.

Once they fall in insta-love, Edmund and Evie are on a constant merry-go-round of drama fueled by girls flirting with Edmund and Evie acting like a child about it as well as relationship development via a rape attempt on Evie. Her attempted rapist exists solely to bring Evie and Edmund closer to one another through his attempt to rape her. The entire incident is forgotten within twenty pages and his name never comes up again. It’s a cheap, nasty way of using a very real trauma billions of women have been forced to experience and is just one of many ways I can illustrate Albright’s atrocious writing and plotting.

The characterization overall is very weak, especially for the flirtatious girls who suffer the wrath of Evie. There’s girl hate galore! Moreover, the Oxford setting is little more than a footnote. You don’t get any sense of setting from Albright’s descriptions of the campus. By sheer chance, I’m reading a fanfiction right now that’s set at Oxford and the author of it employs the services of an Oxford-attending beta reader so she can have insight on campus landmarks, how students refer to different parts of the school, where everything is in relation to everything else, etc. If someone can do that for a fanfiction, Albright should be able to do half that for a published novel. I’m not at all sure she did.

All in all, the novel is only memorable because it’s so bad. At the very least, The Heir and the Spare added another book to my wishlist of novels I hope are written one day: the “royal heir and the commoner” romance but QUILTBAG. I’d read the hell out of that for the conflict of class and the difficulties of being queer in a social group that is overwhelmingly heteronormative. Go watch The Prince and Me again or enjoy your other preferred royal romance instead of spending your time on this book.
Profile Image for Jen Malone.
Author 16 books517 followers
September 17, 2015
This was so super cute and fun!! I loved the premise and the story moved right along- I finished in one night. Kind of a Princess Diaries meets The Royal We:)
Profile Image for Sophie.
1,109 reviews437 followers
April 14, 2016
I've seen this book called a mash up of The Prince and Me and The Princess Diaries, and I've got to say, that wasn't too far off the mark. In The Heir and the Spare, American Evangeline Gray is set to go to Oxford University, on a sort of scavenger hunt left by her late mother. Since her mother died when she was 6, a letter has reached Evie every year on her birthday, giving her a last connection to her mother. When she starts to receive other ones, urging her to discover more about her family, starting at Oxford, Evie immediately jumps at the opportunity to learn more about her English side. As soon as she arrives in England, she unexpectedly meets Prince Edmund, the second son of the King of England. Helping her discover more of her heritage, Edmund and Evie begin to grow close, very close, and need to consider just how much they are willing to do to be together.

I loved Evie from the off. She's 19 year old, alone in a foreign country, and struggling with her wish to learn more about her mother's life before she eloped with her father, and at the same time not wanting to rock the boat. She never annoyed me, at any part of the book, and I felt a deep connection to her. I could feel her emotions as she felt them herself, and really sympathised with her at all the different twists and turns she faced, either when they had to do with her own family, or her budding relationship with Edmund.

I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that she's related to someone quite important. She may not be a princess (yet, *wink wink*), but her relatives she discovers do open up a lot of doors for her future, very similar to Mia in The Princess Diaries series. I enjoyed reading her discover her family, as it made me feel as though I was living her life with her.

The romance with Edmund left me with a smile on my face for the majority of the book. Very a la The Prince and Me, she didn't realise who he was when she first arrived, and even when she did, she didn't swoon all over him because of his status. They started out as really good friends, pretty much best friends, who could be themselves around each other. Even when they realised they were growing fond of each other, they needed to think hard about what could come of a relationship, which was especially hard for Evie. Suffice to say, her familial discovery did open doors, but it wasn't only that that made them really give it a go - rather, they realised they cared too much about each other.

I read this book all in the space of about four hours, as it's quite a shortish book - 288 pages - and it was hard to put it down, even to get food. I was drawn into the story from the offset, and couldn't get enough of falling in love with Evie and Edmund falling in love. The only drawback I could have with the book is that it ended a bit too suddenly for my liking, but no that there's a companion book in the works, from the PoV of Preston, Edmund's bestie (who was a hoot to read), I'm hoping to find out a lot more about Evie and Edmund, maybe with some wedding bells in the future. I would definitely recommend The Heir and the Spare, especially to lovers of YA/NA contemporary, and royalty. A perfect debut from Albright.
Profile Image for zainab .
121 reviews34 followers
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July 11, 2020
Royal Hearts by Emily Albright is a sugar-sweet love story of Evie and Edmund. Evie comes from America to Oxford University and meets the attractive Edmund. But soon she finds out who Edmund is, which is a problem for Evie. Her life becomes more complicated, among other things because her mother shows her a secret that brings her closer to Edmund.
The book is a bit sad on one page, but also sweet and that's pretty much it. The characters are not very developed and the romance is kept to a minimum. The story is very good, only the development is rather short.

Profile Image for Tegan Wren.
Author 2 books149 followers
November 2, 2015
***I received an advance review copy in exchange for an honest review***

Wow...what a fun read! I was super excited to get to read this book and it did not disappoint. There are many things to love about this royal romance.

The first person storytelling worked very well because Evie has a strong, engaging voice. It was wonderful to have a front row seat as she was discovering the wider world, getting comfortable at a new school and new-to-her country, and figuring out some of her deceased mother's secrets. It was thrilling to watch Edmund (the spare heir to the throne) willingly help her accomplish the tasks her mother had laid out for her in a series of clues/notes. Watching them become friends, good friends, and then more than friends was delightful. Of course, there were the inevitable complications, missteps, and uncertainties, but the story culminates in a very satisfying happy ending. Admittedly, I was more invested in the Evie/Edmund relationship than in finding out the secrets of Evie's mother (because hello! a royal romance!), but that storyline provided a unique backdrop against which the pair's relationship developed, and that part of the story (Evie's mother's secret past) really gains steam as the novel progresses. Evie's mother's story was woven into the narrative flawlessly and never felt forced. I really appreciated that.

Bravo to Ms. Albright for striking the right balance in providing details about the places, characters, and action without letting the story get too bogged down. I'm an impatient reader, so I appreciated that the author achieved the perfect pace. I also want to give a special mention of a scene that takes place in Paris. To avoid spoilers, I'll just say it's very romantic and brought back the wonderful feelings I had when I was on my honeymoon in the City of Lights. It's really lovely.

If you know anything about my debut novel, you know I love royal romances. So, it's not surprising that this story is a winner for me. But I think any reader who loves fairytale-type stories, charming leading men, and/or slightly nerdy heroines will adore The Spare and the Heir. It's a fast, fun read. I encourage you to add it to your MUST READ list. Heck, just go ahead and pre-order it. You'll love reading this novel!
Profile Image for Merrin.
723 reviews49 followers
April 29, 2016
Things I liked:

It ended.

Things that were meh:

It had words.

Things I couldn't get behind:

LITERALLY EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT THIS BOOK, OH MY FRICKIN GOSH.

Look, I'm not gonna lie. I hate read this book. I knew on the first page I was going to hate it, but sometimes you just gotta do things you don't like because you NEED TO KNOW YOU'RE ALIVE, RIGHT? WELL I NEEDED TO KNOW I WAS ALIVE. THIS BOOK IS SO AWFUL AND I'M GOING TO TELL YOU WHY IN MY RIGHTEOUS RAGE.

So let's start with the setting. This book is supposed to be set in England. You know because there's a bit of an English flag on the cover, and because the author tells you you're in Britain on, like, every other page. You need all these clues though because literally nothing else about the book feels British at all. I'm assuming, from all of this, that the author is American. I don't really care to check on that. I'm also assuming she's never been to Oxford in her life, even via google maps. I haven't either, but I've certainly read FAN FICTION that gave a better sense of place than this book did.

Oh, and all these British characters? Talk like Americans, for the most part. You know they're British because occasionally the author throws in some charming little colloquialism just to remind you.

"But honestly, the way you took her on was cracking."

I just. What.

AND THEN. I'm like 99% sure this book was meant to be set in the modern day. But these characters all go on a ski trip in . . . some other country that isn't Britain but I honestly can't remember because the setting mattered that little. Edmund's parents are supposed to be there and it's super tense because this is the first time that Evie's going to meet them. And like. The King and Queen "receive" them? In evening wear? The Queen is wearing a tiara? Evie curtsies?

OH! And Evie takes Edmund with her to meet a duchess, and the duchess's butler leaves them standing in the hallway, which Edmund calls strange because normally you'd be taken to a receiving room . . . or . . . what.

What I'm saying is, I'm pretty sure she took her peerage protocol from historical romance novels, because that simply isn't the way things work. EXCEPT WHEN THINGS ARE SO FRICKIN PROGRESSIVE that the duchess is able to pass on her DUCHESS TITLE to her FEMALE HEIR. Lemme tell you how much that NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENS because EVERYTHING IS ENTAILED.

OH AND AND AND all this crap is made of the fact that Evie is common and dating the Prince and whatever and the duchess is telling her YOU WILL NEVER HAVE ANY FRIENDS EVERYONE WILL SHUT YOU OUT IF HE MARRIES YOU and I'm like . . . . . . he's a prince? How? What? Like? LOOK THE FRICKIN FUTURE QUEEN OF ENGLAND RIGHT NOW WAS BORN INTO A MIDDLE CLASS FAMILY AND YOU'RE TRYING TO PASS OFF THIS COMMONER FROM AMERICA AS THE SOLE THING THAT'S GOING TO BRING DOWN FASHIONABLE LONDON SOCIETY? THIS IS NOT THE 1800S, AUTHOR. IT'S NOT.

And let's get into the writing! She picks up and drops secondary and tertiary characters who are basically just cardboard cutouts of archetypes as she deems fit. There's a sexual assault in the middle of the book perpetrated by someone you never hear about before it happens and you never hear about after it happens and literally the sole literary purpose for this assault was to have the prince rescue her. Like, cool. You want a foil for your hero (who is, let's just get this out there, of the Edward-from-Twilight-ian school of heroes), YOU CAN DO THAT WITH LITERALLY ANYONE. YOU JUST HAVE TO MAKE THEM SLIGHTLY BORING AND NOT TO HER TASTE. OR EVEN REALLY INTERESTING AND NOT TO HER TASTE. THEY JUST HAVE TO BE NOT TO HER TASTE. YOU DON'T ACTUALLY HAVE TO MAKE THEM FRICKIN AWFUL PEOPLE.

She also just, like, SKIPS around in timelines with no real explanation as to how much time has passed. She's about to go riding and whoops she's afraid of horses and then all of a sudden she's back at school after her week off. Each chapter functions like a short story of one single scene, and god only knows how much time passes between each chapter.

Can we also talk about the fact that Evie, who grew up in America and probably went to places that sold People magazine fairly frequently, had no idea who Edmund was until someone told her? She didn't recognize the prince. She went. to school. in England. and didn't know who he was. HER MOTHER WAS BRITISH. AMERICANS ARE OBSESSED WITH BRITISH ROYALTY BECAUSE ALL WE HAVE IS PRESIDENTS. THEY CONTINUALLY AIRED PRINCE WILLIAM'S WEDDING ON TV HERE FOR THE ENTIRE WEEKEND WHEN IT HAPPENED FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY. THERE'S NO WAY SHE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT HE LOOKED LIKE YOUR ENTIRE ARGUMENT IS INVALID.

And all of this, ALL OF THIS, I think I probably could have born in the name of romance if I actually gave a single crap about the two main characters. But Evie is probably the most annoying person I've ever spent 280 pages reading about, and Edmund is precisely the type of manipulative a-hole parents SHOULD be warning their daughters about instead of whatever they're warning them about right now.

Evie spends a lot of time crying about whether or not Edmund likes her. When he does like her, her faith and trust in him is easily broken by a couple of incriminating photographs. She spends a lot of time tearing other ladies down in the book because they like Edmund, and even more time thinking to herself about how cool and quirky and different she is than these other girls that like him.

AND. FINALLY. All 280 pages of this book fail to pass the Bechdel test. Even when he's not there, Edmund is literally the only person Evie talks about for the entire book.

I'm kidding even for the most amazing female character ever I could never have forgiven any of the rest of this. I don't know why anyone is giving this book five stars. I suspect they aren't actually reading it.
Profile Image for Kennedy.
1,055 reviews34 followers
February 9, 2016
I loved this! I stayed up until 3AM reading this. I've been on a William & Kate kick lately and this was just different enough from their story that I was still kept guessing. I loved the story of Evie's parents and how Evie learned about her mom's background. This book would fit well in both young adult and adult collections. I will be purchasing a copy for my library.
Profile Image for Heather Fleet.
Author 17 books424 followers
January 26, 2016
This was an endearingly sweet read. I loved the blooming relationship between Edmund and Evie, and, even with all the push and pull between them, I was an endless pile of swoon. It's like all my childhood princess fantasies had come to life between these pages! Definitely one I rec if you're in the mood for something a little lighter in the contemporary world.
Profile Image for David James.
Author 6 books195 followers
January 7, 2016
I'm a sucker for royalty. And with a touch of diversity, this one made me smile.
Profile Image for LadyTechie.
766 reviews42 followers
November 24, 2015
The Heir and the Spare fits into one of my newfound favorite subgenres, romance with royals. I am by no means a royal watcher but, I do love these modern royal romance stories. I received a copy of The Heir and the Spare through Edelweiss and loved it. It is the story of Evie who is accepted at Oxford not only following in both her parents' footsteps but also following one of her mom's requests. Evie's mother gave her some really poignant and heartfelt letters that include some hints from her time in Oxford and also about her life. Evie does not know much about her mom's family and neither does her father so he is not able to answer many questions. As Evie follows what amounts to a quest to learn more about her mom's past she learns more about herself. Along the way she meets an amazing man, that turns out to be the youngest prince of England. This appears to be loosely based upon the real royal family so it allows the author some liberty that allows the author to give the story the kind of ending that we all love. Of course, Evie meets some great friends at Oxford, all colorful and well-developed. There has to be at least one love-interest that wants a prince all to herself so there is some contention. But, this woman is willing to fight dirty and causes Evie no small amount of pain as things are exposed that she was still trying to learn about her family and herself. Review can also be seen at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo....
Profile Image for Kris Mehigan.
281 reviews23 followers
November 2, 2015
I've always been a *royal watcher* ever since I woke up at zero-dark-thirty to watch Lady Di walk down the aisle to marry Prince Charles live on TV. So I'm the perfect reader for Ms. Albright's novel.

THE HEIR AND THE SPARE is like THE PRINCESS DIARIES goes to college. In Oxford. With Prince Harry (oops, I mean Edmund). And a quest.

What's not to love about this charming story with a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to hobnob with royalty? But it's not all gilt, gowns, and apres-ski...we get a glimpse of the darker side of being a blue blood. And don't get me started on the prince's bitchy (yes, titled) ex-girlfriend.

If you enjoy royal watching as well, do yourself a favor and read THE HEIR AND THE SPARE.

Note- I was provided a complimentary advanced reader copy of this novel. This review is my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Alaina.
5,931 reviews216 followers
May 30, 2018
The Heir and the Spare was a cute book. It was honestly a fun book filled with some drama, romance, twists, and turns. It was also a super quick and easy read - I definitely feel like I flew through it and I definitely enjoyed the entire ride.

I adored Evie and Edmund. Their friendship to lovers romance was simply adorable. They definitely had a genuine relationship and the sweet moments shared between the two were basically everything to me.

Evie's sarcasm was on point. It probably made me love her even more (character-wise). She didn't have many trustworthy people in her life but when she accepted Edmund into that category - man, that gave me life. Then there was Edmund, who was the man of her dreams. I loved him so freaking much and they definitely completed each other.

Besides Evie and Edmund, there was the "villain" Jax who was such a dick. God, he was beyond manipulative and I hated everything about him. Okay, maybe hate is strong word but he was a super dick.

Overall, it was cute. There were some things that I still can't really wrap my mind about because they just seemed so off in this book. The quest still kind of confuses me and maybe one day I will understand it. Some of the mystery aspect was confusing too and I kind of just went along with it from time to time. I did, however, end up enjoying the book.
Profile Image for ATheReader- check my bio.
199 reviews62 followers
March 15, 2021
3/14/2021-
Yeah, this was extremely underwhelming. But here is the thing: I don't think this book is horrendous and I have a reason why despite not loving this the third time I read it, I am rating it 3 stars.

The Heir and the Spare is a terribly clique book. It doesn't have good writing. It doesn't have much originality. Despite all of that it is quite an enjoyable book the first two times you read it . This isn't to say that I didn't cringe at multiple parts and make the clenched teeth and slightly squinted eye emoji during it.

I talked about Emily Albright's bad writing in my review of The Heir and the Spare's sequel Everyday Magic. (Honestly, I don't have the effort to do it again and I can't link it because it just links back to THATS.)

The relationship in THATS is terribly.... just terrible. Some people may not see this relationship as so, but I do think there is something to be said about how obnoxious it was if you look closely or maybe that is just because of the terrible main character. The relationship is extremely on-off again, there is no communication between the MCs and practically all they do is make out. I am not necessarily complaining, but a relationship is more than enjoying another person's mouth.

The main character, Evie Gray, is such a self-centered cry baby. She always complains about her own issues, wrecks things when she is upset, and has the emotional capabilities of a 3-year-old. I really don't understand how so many people in this book gravitated towards her as, if I am being honest, really despise her.

Clearly, it is not a spectacular book, and people shouldn't rely on it being of good quality. Short enjoyment and short reward. Okay. I am mad while watching Taylor Swift not receive the awards she deserves, and I am sure that I will translate that into this review accidentally if I continue to write it.


3/3/2021-
I am going to reread this soon and make another judgment on it. When I first read it I really enjoyed it, and reread it. After the reread I realized that it was not an objectively good book and there was a small amount of variety for the characters. I think this is the type of book that people call a "guilty pleasure" because it is momentarily enjoyed and left at that.

Earlier-
Oops, I accidentally removed this from my shelves. I really liked this book but it's not technically the "best book".
August 2, 2020
Eine ganz fürchterliche Übersetzung. Oft wurden Redewendungen 1:1 ins Deutsche übersetzt oder andere Begrifflichkeiten, die dann einfach keinen Sinn mehr ergaben. Es gab immer wieder große Zeitsprünge und nur das allerwichtigste für die Story wurde erzählt. Keine Nebenhandlungen, die Nebencharaktere blieben blass und hatten nur ein Geschlecht und Namen und Spannung gab es auch keine. Das war leider nichts, obwohl ich echt Lust auf schöne und süße Romantik hatte 😕
Profile Image for Celeste_pewter.
593 reviews146 followers
September 14, 2015
I really liked the overall premise of the story - Albright has hit on something unique with her premise. I think we've all wondered just how a fictionalized version of Prince Harry would react to his role in life.

However, the story and the writing just didn't cut it. Evie felt way, way too young for a nineteen/twenty-year-old. I kept feeling like I was reading the exploits of a young woman in high school, verses a young woman in college.

Also, Albright has clearly done zero research into how a British university like Oxford works. While I understand that a fictional book doesn't have to be fully reflective of real life, a British university education is VERY different than a US one - e.g. there's no way Evie would be talking Algebra (?!) if she were focusing on Art History. Nor would she be taking semester finals. As someone who did go to university in the UK, the lack of research drove me nuts.

I really wanted to like this, but I think that unfortunately, it's just too weak of a book for me to enjoy.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,671 reviews702 followers
December 3, 2015
I was super excited about this book. London is one of my favorite cities in the world, so of course I loved the premise and the cover.

I liked Evie well enough. When she wasn't fighting with Edmund, they were adorable together. The push and pull of their relationship got really old really fast. A lot of their problems would have been solved by better communication {she's 20, FFS} or common sense. I find it hard to believe that after a semester of hanging out and constantly studying together, she wouldn't know what his schedule would be.

I loved the idea of the quests and the birthday letters from her mom. Evie's dad was so sweet and supportive, he may have been my favorite. Overall, it was a quick, cute read, but had more drama than I was expecting.

**Huge thanks to Merit Press and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Amy McKinley.
Author 39 books563 followers
September 12, 2015
Loved it! I was a fan from the very start.

Witty and bright Evie Gray never expected to receive mysterious letters from her deceased mother. Within the coveted scrawl lay a challenge, one Evie chose to accept by attending the University of Oxford, where her mom had also attended.

An American in a strange place, Evie soon made fast friends. Among them was Edmund—who she couldn’t get out of her mind. But amidst the sprawling majestic campus, her mom’s past began to unravel, and so did her future. Would she find the answers in time to have the future she’d always wanted? Is it what she wanted?
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 18 books1,315 followers
October 5, 2016
This is a sweet romance full of swoons and sighs and heartbreak, but the HEA puts us back together by the end. Edmund is the prince of my dreams, and Evie's scavenger hunt to learn about her mother keeps the pages turning. It left me wanting to hop a plane to England.
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,640 reviews1,231 followers
March 23, 2016
This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.

Doesn't that premise sound adorable? It does, right? And so far as that aspect goes, it was. It was just the execution that I found almost unbearable.

For starters, I don't think the author did very much research, if any. I've never been to England, but I've read many books set there and watched many a travel show featuring England, and I think I could have done a better job with the slang and the attractions and the overall experience of an American in England for the first time. The lack of research also lends itself to an air of unbelievability, especially where the royals and culture are concerned.

The romance was sweet, but it's also what made this book so messy, since Evie just couldn't get a handle on the fact that Prince Edmund might feel about her the way she did about him. 'Course, if they'd ever deigned to have a real conversation about their feelings, a lot of those painfully awkward situations could have been avoided. Also, if Evie could control her temper and maybe see beyond herself for a second, she'd have realized that a lot of the misunderstandings were her fault.

And as if romancing a prince weren't enough to keep her busy, she's trying to discover what secrets her mother kept that could only be revealed by coming to London. It was pretty easy to guess her lineage, but Evie was in deep, deep denial. Which was pretty annoying considering that uncovering those secrets was obviously going to be the key to unlocking her future happiness.

I don't know...it was cute, in a cringe-worthy sort of way, but the writing was atrocious and the characters themselves left me annoyed more often than not. And now I find out there's supposed to be a sequel? Sorry, but I think I'll leave well enough alone.
Profile Image for Paula  Phillips.
4,757 reviews285 followers
April 9, 2022
One of my favorite tropes to read about is plain jane's discovering that they are part of royalty or the elites and/or falling in love with royalty. This book had both of those and a clean YA romance too which was nice to read. The book starts with Evie heading to Oxford University - her mum's alma mater and getting ready to go on a quest that her mother has set for her. Evie's mum died when she was six years old of cancer and each year on her birthday, she received a letter from her mother. On the day of her graduation, the letters changed and became more adventurous. Soon Evie is at Oxford University where she is about to meet a group of new friends that includes the Prince of England along her journey, she is about to learn of her royal lineage as she learns about a young woman who years ago was disowned by the Duchess of Westminster when she decided to marry and elope with a commoner and an American nonetheless instead of another British royal member. The Heir and the Spare was a cutesy clean read and a nice change of pace for me as lately, I had been reading thrillers as I had moved away from romances as all the romances seem to be filled with sex, and sometimes it just gets a bit too much. This book is perfect for fans of Emma Chase's Royally series and those who love movies like What a Girl Wants and The Princess Diaries.
Profile Image for Nicole M. Hewitt.
1,389 reviews284 followers
January 15, 2016
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

The Heir and the Spare was a cute, quick read that gave me pretty much what it advertised – a fun take on modern day royalty and the pressures of living up to expectations, whatever they may be.

What I enjoyed:

Letters from Mom.
My favorite part of the book was the letters that Evie got from her mom and her quest to discover who she really was. Obviously, we kind of knew where it was all headed, but it was fun to watch Evie put the pieces together, and I really loved how she felt more and more connected to her mother as the book went on. The concept was really sweet – and I loved that her mom didn’t want to push her into any sort of decisions but wanted to give her a chance to discover her heritage. I also loved the relationship between Evie and her father. It was nice to see a story where, even though the main character had gone off to college, she hadn’t forgotten her family back home and she was still close to her dad. Especially considering her mother’s death when she was young – that relationship with her dad was particularly important!

Friendships.
Almost more than the romance in this one, I loved the friendships that Evie developed at Oxford. One thing that was refreshing – while one of Evie’s friends had feelings for Edmund, it didn’t turn into a catfight or ruin their relationship. Both of the girls handled the situation without letting a boy get in the way of their friendship. I also liked Evie’s friendship with Preston. (I think there are going to be future companion books in this series, and I’m guessing Preston will get one – I look forward to that because he was sweet and cute – and I was almost rooting for him to get together with Evie more than I was Edmund.)

The negatives:

Frustrating lack of communication.
I don’t know what it is lately, but I seem to be reading lots of contemporaries where the two main characters don’t have any real obstacles in their relationship, they just choose not to really talk to each other. Evie’s insecurities got in the way a lot in this book, which was okay at first, but it got a little bit frustrating as the book went on. And her one issue that I felt was valid – the fear that Edmund wouldn’t have chosen her if she hadn’t had a title – wasn’t really ever confronted, as far as I was concerned. Even by the end of the book, I was kind of wondering if it were true. So, while I liked Evie and Edmund, I wasn’t always a fan of their relationship and lack of trust.

So, if you’ve always imagined what it would be like to one day discover you’re royalty or to have a prince fall in love with you, this is the book for you. Overall, I give this one 3.5/5 stars.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Profile Image for Jessie Potts.
1,179 reviews103 followers
October 26, 2015
3.5-4 stars.

I couldn't decide it was a great read for a rainy English day yet certain things bothered me. The mystery was very easy to figure out (the title and picture duh!) I also didn't like that Evie had a boyfriend (ahem ex-boyfriend) in Seattle where they were just waiting to see 'if it worked out' since Evie didn't do long distance relationships. I wish that could have been tied up a bit nicer. I also didn't like how stubborn Evie was at times. I mean she was super relatable but did she really need to go out with that guy who EVERYONE said had 'boundary' issues?? I also didn't like that she fell in love way to fast but then was also dabbling with Preston. I feel like she went to England to discover her mother's quest and experience England, not just to fall in love and like with the nearest guys.

Having said all that I enjoyed reading this book! I know it seems like a contradiction but it was amusing and the pacing flowed really well. I felt like I was there in England and Paris with Evie and the setting definitely added to the book. I also read it in a couple hours because it kept me interested. All in all a great light read with only a few unanswered questions.


**Review will be out in RT January issue)
January 21, 2016
Evie Gray's deceased mother has left her a letter on everyone of Evie's birthdays, except this year it's different. This year it's more of a quest. Evie has to enroll in Oxford University (her father and mother's alma mater) and the quest will continue from there. Evie, being a clueless and American, meets Prince Edward Stuart, but has no clue who he is until after the fact. The two hit it off and become fast friends; Edward even helps Evie uncover the truth surrounding her past, which is also part of her mother's quest. Evie's feelings start to develop for Edward with the more time she spends with him and once she realizes who he is, she knows that he would never seriously date an untitled American. However, Evie uncovers the truth regarding her mother and it's a game changer for sure. The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright is a fun and lighthearted debut; essentially, it's the love child of The Royal We and The Princess Diaries.

Read the rest of my review here:
http://www.confessionsofabookaddict.c...
Profile Image for Mel.
117 reviews182 followers
August 6, 2018
Die Geschichte klingt einfach großartig und ich habe mich so drauf gefreut. Bekommen habe ich hier eine vollkommen naive, kindische (wirklich sie kann höchstens 12 gewesen sein) Protagonistin und einen ebenso dämlichen männlichen Gegenspieler. Der Schreibstil ist einfach, zu einfach. Ich hatte das Gefühl ich würde ein Kinderbuch lesen, wo jedoch immer mal Andeutung auf nicht jugendfreie Sachen gemacht werden. Insgesamt war das Buch ein bisschen vergleichbar mit dem Phänomen von Glotzern beim Autounfall: Es war schrecklich aber weg sehen konnte man auch nicht. Keine Ahnung wie ich es zum Ende geschafft habe, aber wirklich kauft euch lieber was anderes. Flop des Jahres. - Video folgt
Profile Image for Emily Albright.
Author 3 books236 followers
June 7, 2018
Of course I had to give it 5 stars. ;) Hope you enjoy it!
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,330 reviews231 followers
August 29, 2019
Evie enrolled at Oxford as part of a quest her mother planned for her prior to her death. She wanted her daughter to uncover her roots, but Evie was lucky enough to make some amazing friends and fall in love along the way.

I won't lie, I bought this book years ago fully expecting allusions to William and Kate's romance, and not to worry, it was there. However, I felt that Albright took the story up a notch by including the storyline involving Evie's mother. Her mother had passed away many years prior, but before her death, she penned letters to her daughter, which Evie received yearly on her birthday. My feels were already tingling from that, but then upon her high school graduation, Evie received another letter. This one encouraging her to apply to Oxford to, as they say, walk in her mother's shoes.

I loved the idea of Evie connecting with her mother in this way. She got to see the sights and sit in the very classrooms that her mother once had. Though a bit predictable, since whoever wrote the blurb revealed what I felt was a major plot point, I still enjoyed waiting for each of those letters and seeing where they would take her.

This was also a royal romance! Evie was able to capture the eye and heart of Prince Edmund, and I thought they made a great pair. They had their ups and downs, mostly complications due to outside forces, but there was definitely something I liked between those two. Albright did a beautiful job capturing that infatuation and those emotions associated with falling in love, and I definitely ate it all up.

Although he was the "spare", Edmund's family still had expectations for him, and their meddling in his romantic affairs caused the type of drama one expects. Not to worry, the drama was balanced out well by the camaraderie Evie and Edmund enjoyed with their fantastic group of friends. I could not help but envy Evie's good fortune to be taken in by this group, and I enjoyed spending time with them.

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Profile Image for Prince William Public Libraries.
694 reviews110 followers
July 1, 2021
Ready to take the first brave steps into her future, Evie cannot wait to travel abroad and attend college at Oxford. Looking forward to new adventures and new friendships, she never imagined her circle of friends would include a charming and handsome prince. A prince for whom she would develop feelings. As Evie’s journey unfolds, secrets and surprises come to light, and her life is forever changed. I enjoyed this book so much as the author painted the scenes so vividly, at times it felt as if I was traveling alongside Evie. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a modern fairytale.

- Allison L.

Click here to find the book at Prince William Public Libraries.
Profile Image for Jeanna.
311 reviews26 followers
January 25, 2016
Evie follows her mother’s letters in a P.S. I Love You fashion, which lead her to Oxford to uncover secrets she never could have imagined. At Oxford, she is immediately enveloped in a circle of friends that include Edmund, the prince. Despite his royal status, he takes a fancy toward Evie and together they unravel the secrets Evie’s mother kept from her.

This was an adorable book which is sure to capture any romantic’s heart. The romance kindled between Evie and Edmund began with a sweet, but sassy friendship. The side characters are notable as well including the rude duchess and slimy girlfriend. However, as much as Evie’s group of friends were extremely relatable, it was only because most of the girls were walking-clichés and underdeveloped. The cliché of a mediocre girl who turns the heads of all the boys is also at play here which is both annoying but expected.

Evie, the protagonist, is a confident but quiet girl who could probably win in any wit battle if it didn’t require modern slang. Emily Albright wrote a smashing debut that will dazzle many readers. However, especially in the beginning when Evie was building relationships with her new-found friends, the narrative lacked colloquial speech which a recent twenty-year-old would use. Instead, Evie took to name-calling and less-mature narrative. A lot of times, her narrative sounded off or unbalanced. Edmund, as expected, was perfect in every way. The guy is any girl’s dream guy, who also happens to be a prince.

The plot was incredibly fast-paced and would make for a fabulous vacation read. However, Albright could have added so much more. She could have expanded on a number of things. It would have made the book more memorable and less predictable.

Despite the story being too short, it was still a cute debut that would tickle any reader’s toes. The Heir and the Spare is a fast read, a bit predictable but a whole lot of fun.
Profile Image for Samantha.
Author 2 books72 followers
January 26, 2016
This was such a cute read! Anyone who has ever dreamed about dating or being royalty will be charmed by this romance. Evie is a smart, strong heroine, who has pursued her dream of going to Oxford, only to find out Edmund, the boy she's crushing on, might be a little out of her league. As in, he's an actual prince, out of her league. Despite knowing Edmund's family would never let them be together, the pair can't help falling for one another, and I fell completely for Edmund.

Probably one of my favorite parts of this book were the letters Evie's mom left for her after she passed away, which send Evie on a quest to learn about her mother, her family history, and herself.

This book is charming and fun, and will bring you back to those moments when you believed fairy tales were real and you really could meet a Prince Charming someday.
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