Review: Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick

Posted June 19, 2021 by Lorna in Reviews / 10 Comments

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick
Playing the Palace

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Genres: M/M Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on May 25, 2021
Pages: 269
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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The Delight

Fairytale anyone? That’s kind of what was the delight for me with this story of a guy from New Jersey who meets the Crown Prince of England and falls in love. The sheer amount of struggle for them to actually have a relationship was enormous. Everything that could go wrong does, but to my delight, a lot goes right as well.


Carter Ogden is a twenty something guy working and living in New York as an event planner. He’s funny, snarky, cares about his family and has good friends. He keeps Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s picture above his bed and his mind supplies the commentary from her on his life and problems. When he has the ultimate “meet cute” with Edgar, the prince of England, his life completely mushrooms into fantasy territory and then some. Or implodes, whichever comes closest. They try to go out and end up getting separated by a mob of people and that’s just the beginning of Carter’s journey to love with Edgar. And then there’s his sister’s wedding. Carter sure didn’t know he was going to be escorted by Edgar and neither did any of his New Jersey relatives. It was humorous and for Carter a bit surreal to say the least.

Besides the romance that develops, my favorite part of the read were the characters. From his roommates Adam and Louise-each with their own(often hilarious)opinion on Carter’s dating life to his many(some very different)relatives, his strange and very flighty boss who takes the credit for all of Carter’s work on this side of the Atlantic to James, Edgar’s uptight gay assistant and of course the very disapproving Queen of England on the Europe side of the Atlantic, everyone is pretty fully realized by the author. James reminded me a lot of the manservant from the movie Arthur with all his snark and looking down his nose at Carter. Carter’s sister Abby was very over the top, a completely loyal Carter fan and ended up a favorite for me. But, the characters of Carter and Edgar were the highlights for me. Carter has been hurt and cheated on by an actor he had been with for three years, so he’s very vulnerable. Edgar is under considerable stress and has a public that comments on everything he says or does. Since Carter pretty much bumbles his way through quite a bit of the action that takes place in England, Edgar has a lot more on his plate than he bargained for. Still both are good characters and I enjoyed them for the most part although Carter does something very questionable and I wanted to shake him.

About those bumbling times? Yes, I wanted Carter to act differently at times and at other times, I think there might have been a bit too many of those episodes. And Edgar needed to step up more at times than he did, so that was frustrating as well. Edgar’s grandmother, otherwise known as the queen of England, guarding the hallway between Edgar’s and Carter’s separate rooms was just a tad not believable. Humorous though.

What I really liked was, although this is about two gay men, it’s not harped on. It just is and both characters are very open and accepting of their lives. That’s just the way it should be. I also enjoyed the humor and the love between the characters. It would be fun to catch up with this couple a few years into the future just to see what’s happening. Just a thought. It was a fun read that I recommend to m-m romance readers or people that just like a good romance.

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I’m a lifetime book addict and currently own nine Kindles, with only six still working. I do tend to wear them out! They pretty much are my favorite technology-well that and my cell phone. Okay, yes and my laptop. I spent most of my life in Kentucky, but moved to Maryland in my attempt to get closer to the the ocean a few years ago. Being retired helps. I have a B.S. degree in law enforcement with a minor in sociology, but never really worked in my major. Instead, I spent my entire adult life working in the medical field in some capacity. After retiring(early), I found my passion in reviewing books for a couple of blogs and I love it. My author favorites include, Dannika Dark, Amber Lynn Natusch, J.T. Geissinger, Colleen Hoover, Samantha Towle, K.A. Tucker, Karina Halle, Sarina Bowen, J.R. Ward, Mariana Zapata, Dianne Duvall, and I could go on and on. I read many different genre’s, but still like a romantic element in most, if not all of them.

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Mary Kirkland
11 months ago

I haven’t read this but it sounds like a good story.

11 months ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

It was really cute and a fun read.

Anne - Books of My Heart
11 months ago

I am not reading as much romance and have not read M/M very often. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

11 months ago

I still read a lot of romance, but have added in quite a bit of mystery/suspense as well lately. Thanks!

11 months ago

This sounds fun. You already have me wanting to meet some of those characters.

11 months ago
Reply to  Sam@WLABB

It did have some fun characters and I didn’t even mention all of them. His New Jersey family was pretty funny.

Sophia Rose
11 months ago

I think it sounds like a fun modern fairytale one based on your thoughts, Lorna. 🙂

10 months ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

It was a sort of fairy tale I think-but more of a humorous one.

Carole Rae
10 months ago

Sounds really good! And that one looks like Harry so I’m in 😉

10 months ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

It was a fun book. If you try it, I hope you enjoy!