Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
Oh, how I’d been waiting for more of Anderson and Nora’s story after T.K. Leigh’s first book of the duet, Royal Games. The way that Anderson and Nora fell for each other in that back, battling against their feelings to hold the other back from the pain of their life, grabbed my heart and made me almost rabid for more of their story. In Tangled Games, Anderson and Nora are engaged and off to Belmont for Anderson to fulfill his royal obligation. From the outset of the story, it’s clear that Anderson is worried over Nora’s willingness to sacrifice her life and anonymity for him. Add to that his medical condition, and there is tension in this story almost from the start. In some ways, Tangled Games reminds me of The Princess Diaries with Nora undergoing training for her new life, and in other ways, it reminds me of the Julia Stiles’s movie, The Prince and Me. All of the qualities of those movies are found in this book except that in one of those texts, there is no prince and in the other, the Prince is a secondary character to the heroine. In Tangled Games, Nora and Anderson are both important as they navigate their own issues.
Obviously, Nora must learn to negotiate this new world, and honestly, she does it with aplomb. I love that Leigh didn’t make Nora less than herself to fit into Anderson’s world. When challenged, she stands in her power, and she works to maintain her dignity in the face of the difficulties of this world. She continues to nurture, she continues to maintain a semblance of independence, and she remains beautiful to the core. Nora is my favorite character in Tangled Games because she is the definition of unconditional love which is a contrast to her characterization in Royal Games. It’s clear that the love of Anderson has deepened something in her.
Anderson continues to be his usual stalwart self except his challenge lies in confronting the rules of his kingdom along with the difficulties of his illness. As he juggles these problems, he still madly loves Nora, which provides the ease of Tangled Games. Without that decided adoration, this book would a difficult pill to swallow in its angst.
However, at its foundation, what makes this book its most beautiful is the love of the female friends. Even as you venture into the bonus epilogue for Tangled Games, Leigh has stayed true the gravity of the friend relationship between Nora, Chloe. Izzy, and Evie. That layer adds more protection for the reader to endure the tangle of Anderson and Nora’s story.
If I had one criticism, it would be, that in the midst of their troubles, Anderson’s response to his child, doesn’t align with his character. As we find in so many romances, the hero and heroine split up for a time as a rallying cry to find a solution or a better ending for the couple. In this book, his response to her carrying his child in their separation feels contradictory to his morality in a way. It’s really quite minor and does nothing to undermine the beauty and decadence of their story.
In the end, Tangled Games is the royal romance you should be reading today. Right now. I think Harry and Meghan would approve.
In love and romance,