Royal readers, we’re five weeks into 2023 and already so many great books have been announced or been released. What’s a reader to do?! Create a list of every book they want to read, of course. Between a backlist of titles and upcoming releases, there’s a plethora of options for readers of royal fiction to choose from. If you’re not sure where to start, check out my list of of my most anticipated royal fiction reads of 2023*.
Coronation Year by Jennifer Robson
Release date: April 4, 2023
It is Coronation Year, 1953, and a new queen is about to be crowned. The people of London are in a mood to celebrate, none more so than the residents of the Blue Lion hotel. Edie Howard, owner and operator of the floundering Blue Lion, has found the miracle she needs: on Coronation Day, Queen Elizabeth in her gold coach will pass by the hotel’s front door, allowing Edie to charge a fortune for rooms and, barring disaster, save her beloved home from financial ruin. Edie’s luck might just be turning, all thanks to a young queen about her own age. Stella Donati, a young Italian photographer and Holocaust survivor, has come to live at the Blue Lion while she takes up a coveted position at Picture Weekly magazine. London in celebration mode feels like a different world to her. As she learns the ins and outs of her new profession, Stella discovers a purpose and direction that honor her past and bring hope for her future. James Geddes, a war hero and gifted artist, has struggled to make his mark in a world that disdains his Indian ancestry. At the Blue Lion, though, he is made to feel welcome and worthy. Yet even as his friendship with Edie deepens, he begins to suspect that something is badly amiss at his new home. When anonymous threats focused on Coronation Day, the Blue Lion, and even the queen herself disrupt their mood of happy optimism, Edie and her friends must race to uncover the truth, save their home, and expose those who seek to erase the joy and promise of Coronation Year.
A Royal Competition by Amanda Schimmoeller
Release date: September 14, 2023
He was never supposed to be king. Now he has ninety days to find a bride or lose the throne. With the clock ticking, he’s thrown into an unfamiliar world as the bachelor in the nation’s most popular dating competition.
Prepare to be royally entertained.
In his final moments, the king made one last decree—that Prince Liam would star as the lead in a televised royal dating show and marry the woman of his choosing to gain the support of the Wistonian people. Liam reluctantly agrees to take on the role, hoping it will repair his tarnished reputation, even though he has vowed to never love again. But then the one person who has the power to break down his walls joins the competition.
Lady Charlotte never planned to return to the Wistonian Palace. And she definitely didn’t plan to court the man she has secretly been pining over for years. In a competition where most women would do anything to win, she simply hopes to survive with her heart still intact. But things never seem to go according to plan.
The Coronation: Tales of Tarsurella #1 by Livy Jarmusch
Prince Addison is only several weeks away from inheriting the Kingdom of Tarsurella. The entire Palace is ablaze with excitement, as the Royal Family prepares for the event of a lifetime. Despite the exciting event which is near at hand, Addison and his younger siblings (all seven of them!) must carry on with their daily activities.
Addison’s sisters, Princesses Bridget, Chasity, and Hope, have their struggles with being iconic European starlets of a modern day monarchy. The teen heiresses grace magazine covers, smile for photoshoots, and gracefully glide through important interviews–until a certain American popstar arrives on the scene. Kennetic Energy, the wildly popular band from the United States, is chosen to play at Addison’s Coronation. David Carter, the band’s handsome lead singer, fumbles through awkward moments with Princess Hope–in front of the cameras. When an embarrassing rumor sparks that Princess Hope is dating the young fellow, she is determined to get the band fired from their Royal gig.
Meanwhile, Princess Chasity is dealing with her own fragile affairs of the heart. Her new security guard, Hanson Fletcher, is completely captivating, yet entirely frustrating. She attempts to keep the entrance of her heart firmly protected, while following the wisdom of Proverbs 4:23. But can she be successful in guarding her heart, from her security guard?
The Peasant Queen: An Esther Retelling by Ashton E. Dorow
A king haunted by memories of his past…
A young woman fighting againsther future…
Torn from her home and all that is familiar, Arabella of Caelrith finds herself as the unwilling bride of King Rowan of Acuniel–the man whose vengeful war stole her family.
Bitter and confused, Arabella struggles to find her place in this new life. That is, until someone tries to kill the king.Despite repeated warnings to stay out of the matter, Arabella investigates the attempt on Rowan’s life, and his parents’ long ago murder, unconcerned with the potential cost of her interference. But when tragedy strikes, the seriousness of the situation becomes all too clear. Is the price of knowing the truth higher than she is willing to pay?
When the fate of the kingdom and all that she holds dear is at stake, will Arabella have the courage to stand up against the evil endeavoring to destroy them all? Did God really abandon her when He left her to this fate? Or was she put in the king’s palace… for such a time as this?
A Foreign Crown: Royal Regency #1 by Jen Geigle Johnson
Following a devastating series of misfortunes, Lady Aribella Bardsley has bravely shouldered the responsibilities of her household. But just as the bleakness of her situation threatens to overwhelm her, a summons arrives from the Queen with a providential offer: Aribella’s presence is requested as a lady-in-waiting at the palace.
Prince Layton Wilhelm’s family has clung to their neutrality in the war for far too long. As the youngest of the King of Oldenburg’s eight sons, Layton is determined to prove his worth and is unwilling to turn a blind eye to Napoleon’s encroaching privateers. When Layton embarks on a journey to England, it is for one purpose: to petition the British navy for aid. But when he becomes acquainted with the lovely Lady Aribella, he cannot deny their powerful connection. Amid the intrigues and schemes within the walls of the palace, Layton and Aribella know a future together is impossible—but torn between loyalty and love, will they risk everything to follow their hearts?
To Win a Prince by Toni Shiloh
As a fashion aficionado and best friend of the queen of the African island country Oloro Ilé, Iris Blakely dreams of using her talent to start a business to help citizens in impoverished areas. But when she discovers that Ekon Diallo will be her business consultant, the battle between her desires and reality begins.
Ekon Diallo has lost everything: his princely title, his material possessions, his friends, and the respect of his countrymen. To pay for his actions against Oloro Ilé, he’s forced to assist the charismatic Iris Blakely–but he can’t allow his heart to distract him from regaining his status.
As Iris strives to get her business off the ground while keeping her heart intact, will her dreams of happily ever after survive the challenges she faces?
Once Upon a Royal Christmas by Teri Wilson
“I’m Prince Nikolas of San Glacera. Oh, you’ve never heard of us? Well, you’re not the only one. Our country relies on winter tourism, but we’re attracting fewer and fewer visitors. I admit it’s a problem. I just don’t think the solution is an American who likes to play dress-up.
You see, while I was away on a trip to honor our military, the palace talked my family into holding a contest. The winner gets to play a character in our annual Ice Village festivities and accompany our royal family to holiday events.
And did they at least choose an accomplished actor? Hardly. This woman, Gracie Clark, runs a children’s party business and performs as—I kid you not—‘Princess Snowflake.’
Of course, I do respect the fact that she volunteers at children’s hospitals. I suppose to some, she might have a certain charm… But the whole cheap spectacle is beneath our dignity.
I’m not going to shirk my duty to my kingdom. I’ll go to every event with her. At least, once Christmas is over, she’ll be gone…”
Battle Royal by Lucy Parker
Four years ago, Sylvie Fairchild charmed the world as a contestant on the hit baking show, Operation Cake. Her ingenious, colorful creations captivated viewers and intrigued all but one of the judges, Dominic De Vere, the hottest pastry chef in London. When her glittery unicorn cake went spectacularly sideways, Dominic was quick to vote her off the show. Since then, Sylvie has managed to use her fame to help fulfill her dream of opening a bakery, Sugar Fair. The toast of Instagram, Sugar Fair has captured the attention of the Operation Cake producers…and a princess.
Dominic is His Majesty the King’s favorite baker, the go-to for sweet-toothed A-List celebrities, and a veritable British institution. He’s brilliant, talented, hard-working. And an icy, starchy grouch. Learning that the irksome Sylvie will be joining him on the Operation Cake judging panel is enough to make the famously dour baker even more grim. Her fantastical baking is only slightly more troublesome than the fact that he can’t stop thinking about her pink-streaked hair and irrepressible dimple.
When Dominic and Sylvie learn they will be fighting for the once in a lifetime opportunity to bake a cake for the upcoming wedding of Princess Rose, the flour begins to fly as they’re both determined to come out on top.
The bride adores Sylvie’s quirky style. The palace wants Dominic’s classic perfection.
In this royal battle, can there be room for two?
Codename Charming by Lucy Parker
Release date: August 15, 2023
Petunia De Vere enjoys being the personal assistant to lovable, bumbling Johnny Marchmont. But the job has its share of challenges, including the royal’s giant, intimidating bodyguard, Matthias. Pet and Matthias are polar opposites–she’s spontaneous and enthusiastic, he’s rigid and stoic–but she can sense there’s something softer underneath that tough exterior…
For Matthias Vaughn, protecting others is the name of the game. But keeping his royal charge out of trouble is more difficult than he imagined because everywhere Johnny goes, calamity ensues, and his petite, bubbly assistant is often caught in the fray. Matthias hates the idea of Pet getting hurt and he’s determined to keep everyone safe, even if it means clashing with his adorable new coworker.
When a clumsy moment leads to a questionable tabloid photo, the press begins to speculate that Pet is romantically involved with Johnny. To put an end to the rumors, the royal PR team asks Pet and Matthias to stage a fake relationship and the two reluctantly agree. But as they spend more time together outside of work, they begin to wonder what real emotions this pretend connection might uncover. Especially when a passionate kiss leaves both of their heads spinning…
The Queen’s Secret: A Novel of England’s WWII Queen by Karen Harper
1939. As the wife of the King George VI and the mother of the future queen, Elizabeth—“the queen mother”—shows a warm, smiling face to the world. But it’s no surprise that Hitler himself calls her the “Most Dangerous Woman in Europe.” For behind that soft voice and kindly demeanor is a will of steel.
Two years earlier, George was thrust onto the throne when his brother Edward abdicated, determined to marry his divorced, American mistress Mrs. Simpson. Vowing to do whatever it takes to make her husband’s reign a success, Elizabeth endears herself to the British people, and prevents the former king and his brazen bride from ever again setting foot in Buckingham Palace.
Elizabeth holds many powerful cards, she’s also hiding damaging secrets about her past and her provenance that could prove to be her undoing.
In this riveting novel of royal secrets and intrigue, Karen Harper lifts the veil on one of the world’s most fascinating families, and how its “secret weapon” of a matriarch maneuvered her way through one of the most dangerous chapters of the century.
The Royal Governess by Wendy Holden
In 1933, twenty-two-year-old Marion Crawford accepts the role of a lifetime, tutoring their Royal Highnesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. Her one stipulation to their parents the Duke and Duchess of York is that she bring some doses of normalcy into the sheltered and privileged lives of the two young princesses.
At Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and Balmoral, Marion defies oppressive court protocol to take the girls on tube trains, swimming at public baths, and on joyful Christmas shopping trips at Woolworth’s. From her ringside seat at the heart of the British monarchy she witnesses the upheaval of the Abdication and the glamour and drama of the 1937 Coronation.
During the war, as Hitler’s Heinkels fly over Windsor, she shelters her charges in the castle dungeons (not far from where the Crown Jewels are hidden in a biscuit tin). Afterwards, she is there when Elizabeth first sets eyes on Philip. But being beloved governess and confidante to the Windsor family has come at a cost. She puts her private life on hold until released from royal service following Princess Elizabeth’s marriage in 1947.
In a majestic story of love, sacrifice, and allegiance, bestselling novelist Holden shines a captivating light into the years before Queen Elizabeth II took the throne, as immortalized on the popular television series The Crown.
An Indiscreet Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria’s Defiant Daughter by Georgie Blalock
Before Princes Margaret, before Duchess Meghan, there was Princess Louise: royal rebel.
As the fourth daughter of the perpetually in-mourning Queen Victoria, Princess Louise’s life is more a gilded prison than a fairy tale. Expected to sit quietly next to her mother with downcast eyes, Louise vows to escape the stultifying royal court. Blessed with beauty, artistic talent, and a common touch, she creates a life outside the walled-in existence of the palace grounds by attending the National Art Training School—where she shockingly learns to sculpt nude models while falling passionately in love with famed sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm.
Although Louise cultivates artist friends, artistic success, and a life outside the palace, she quickly learns that even royal rebels must heed the call of duty. For twenty years, Louise fights to maintain her relationship with Joseph and what freedom she can glean within the strict requirements of Queen Victoria’s court. When a near fatal accident forces her back under Queen Victoria’s iron rule, Louise must choose between surrendering to the all-consuming grief of lost love and dreams that plagued her mother or finding the strength to keep fighting for her unconventional life.
In the Shadow of a Queen by Heather B. Moore
Princess Louise’s life is upended after her father’s untimely death. Captive to the queen’s overwhelming mourning, Louise is forbidden to leave her mother’s tight circle of control and is eventually relegated to the position of personal secretary to her mother—the same position each of her sisters held until they were married.
Already an accomplished painter, Louise risks the queen’s wrath by exploring the art of sculpting, an activity viewed as unbefitting a woman. When Louise involves herself in the day’s political matters, including championing the career of a female doctor and communicating with suffragettes, the queen lays down the law to stop her and devotes her full energy to finding an acceptable match for her defiant daughter.
Louise is considered the most beautiful and talented daughter of Queen Victoria, but finding a match for the princess is no easy feat. Protocols are broken, and Louise exerts her own will as she tries to find an open-minded husband who will support her free spirit.
In the Shadow of a Queen is the story of a battle of wills between two women: a daughter determined to forge her own life beyond the shadow of her mother, and a queen resolved to keep the Crown’s reputation unsullied no matter the cost.
The Last Grand Duchess by Brynn Turnbull
Grand Duchess Olga Romanov comes of age amid a shifting tide for the great dynasties of Europe. But even as unrest simmers in the capital, Olga is content to live within the confines of the sheltered life her parents have built for and her three sisters: hiding from the world on account of their mother’s ill health, their brother Alexei’s secret affliction, and rising controversy over Father Grigori Rasputin, the priest on whom the Tsarina has come to rely. Olga’s only escape from the seclusion of Alexander Palace comes from her aunt, who takes pity on her and her sister Tatiana, inviting them to grand tea parties amid the shadow court of Saint Petersburg. Finally, she glimpses a world beyond her mother’s Victorian sensibilities—a world of opulent ballrooms, scandalous flirtation, and whispered conversation.
But as war approaches, the palaces of Russia are transformed. Olga and her sisters trade their gowns for nursing habits, assisting in surgeries and tending to the wounded bodies and minds of Russia’s military officers. As troubling rumours about her parents trickle in from the Front, Olga dares to hope that a budding romance might survive whatever the future may hold. But when tensions run high and supplies run low, the controversy over Rasputin grows into fiery protest, and calls for revolution threaten to end 300 years of Romanov rule.
At turns glittering and harrowing, The Last Grand Duchess is story about dynasty, duty, and love, but above all, it’s the story of a family who would choose devotion to each other over everything—including their lives.
*Notes: These are my personal anticipated reads of 2023, but the books listed here will not, necessarily, have been published in 2023; so are older titles I haven’t yet read. Release dates for forthcoming releases will be included as applicable. Titles are a mix of general market and Christian fiction, and inclusion of the titles does not mean WhiteFire Publishing Group endorses them. Please discern whether or not you should read a book based upon your own interests and comfort level.