Rating: 3.25 stars
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Louis is the future King of England. It’s certainly nothing he ever asked for, but Louis was born into it and he is the next in line for the throne. The paparazzi watch his every move and he has to be so careful. He tells everyone of his exploits with women, but since there are no pictures of him with anyone, the photographers are anxious to get something. The thing is that Louis prefers men and all of his trysts have to be secret and involve signatures on NDAs.
Louis breaks all of his rules when he meets Xavier. Not only is Xavier a stranger, but he’s a photographer, with his eye on the money shot. But Xavier doesn’t want Louis for a pay day, he just wants Louis. Louis knows that Xavier can never be anything more than a secret, but he just can’t stay away. However, the thing about secrets is that they don’t always stay hidden and if Louis is discovered, his entire world could change in a blink.
I have read several books by J.R. Gray and I want to point out that the author’s voice has evolved significantly and the writing itself has become more polished with each book. King Consort started out strong for me, but ultimately the structure of the plot and attention to key details fell short.
Louis’ grandmother is the Queen of England and he is next in line for the throne. He has a good relationship with his grandmother and they have some good banter, but Louis is a typical character for this style of book. He has no interest in being the next King of England. There is a lot behind that statement as Louis thinks he can’t come out and he will have to live a lie for the rest of his life and his frustration is clear. However, he assumes this is absolute. Just once it would be refreshing to see a future king find something of interest in being the next king for it seemed that even if Louis thought he could come out, he still had a lot of disdain for his place in life.
When Louis and his troubled sister, Anne, sneak out to a sex club, he meets Xavier and is immediately attracted to him. Xavier has a story as his face is scarred and he prefers solitude. Yet, he makes his living on the edge of the action as a paparazzi photographer and his and Louis’ lives become intertwined. Now, the first two times Louis and Xavier are together, Xavier refuses to take off his shirt. They then see each other regularly in all the stolen moments they can, and this issue is never brought up again until just at the end of the book. And then, finally, the scars on his face are discussed, but it’s never clear what the issue with the shirt was. This was one area that really derailed the book for me as Xavier’s scars were a prominent plot point in the beginning of the book and then it was dropped for almost the rest of the story.
The men are attracted to each other, but have to meet in secret. Their meetings are mostly sexual and even their texting is mostly sexual banter. By the end, I would have liked to see some more to their relationship than just the sexual tension. There wasn’t enough depth or character development for me to then see them as a couple long term as it was mostly just told to us that it was so. There were also times when one chapter would end and the beginning of the next felt like there was information missing in between.
The storyline with Louis’s sister was also worked into a good portion of the book, but the resolution for that wasn’t as strong for me either. The coming out scene, again, was typical for this style of book, and although it was difficult for Louis, a whole lot of his turmoil could have been avoided with just one conversation.
This book was disappointing for many reasons as I have enjoyed this author’s work and I enjoyed the early parts and set up of this story. While the lack of certain details and overall movement of the plot going forward didn’t work as well for me, if you are interested in reading about royalty, it could resonate more for you.