Kate Quinn never knew her father and when her mother died last year, she was taken in by her aunt and uncle. Until her father one days shows up in their living room and claims that he wants to get to know her, that he wants to introduce her to his family. One catch: he’s a Senator running for the presidency. Of the United States. Kate’s life goes from everyday teenager to campaign strategy before she even knows what’s happening. It’s hard enough to process the fact that her father’s alive, has a wife and two other kids, and wants her to stay with them. It’s impossible when everyone is suddenly watching her every move.
This book was an absolute perfect read for me. It had elements from some of my favourite books and TV shows but still felt completely new. I didn’t want to stop reading and ended up finishing it in one day. The only reason I stopped reading was because I had to. The book was sadly over.
Kate was a character I found myself empathizing with easily, even when she made decisions I didn’t agree with. She was doing her best but she was just thrown into the world of politics with little understanding of just how important every little detail was or how wrong moves were used against them by their opponents. She was never sure of her place in the family, she definitely had strong opinions, and really, she just wanted approval. I also really liked that she loved history and her reasons why. She was one of my favourite characters so far this year.
The other characters were all so great as well. The Senator was around less than the rest of the family, busy with the campaign, but I thought the awkward way he would interact with Kate was believable. He was a hard person to get to know, as said many times in the book, and it definitely cam across. Meg, his wife, was just awesome. She could have easily turned into a scorned stepmother type character, being mean to her husband’s love child, but instead she was warm and accepting and protective of Kate. They truly bonded and it was so nice. The twins, Gracie and Gabe, were adorable. Gracie was the outgoing one and Gabe was painfully shy. I loved seeing the bond developing between them and Kate.
The synopsis was right when it compared this book to Princess Diaries and Aaron Sorkin. Kate wasn’t suddenly royalty but she was thrust into the spotlight without being prepared. The campaign and political aspect, along with the speeches, gave the book a West Wing feel, which was where the Aaron Sorkin comparison would come in. I loved it. The politics were written in a way that I could still understand even though I don’t know a lot about American politics. There was so much work that went into every little detail of every appearance and every word spoken. It was exhausting just reading about it. There was also a bit of a Something Real aspect to it regarding the kids in the spotlight and the effects it can have on them.
The romance aspect of the book was very light. There was a boy, the son of Kate’s father’s rival, and the way he and Kate played off each other was so fun to read. Andy could understand her in a way no one else could since he was also a teenager constantly in the spotlight of his father’s campaign. It was a slow burn romance and I fell for it. Hard.
I don’t tend to re-read a lot of books but this is one I will very likely pick up again. It was that good. And it has PEI on the cover.