August 14, 2023

Codename Charming

By Lucy Parker
Review by
Lucy Parker’s breezy and winning new rom-com, Codename Charming, follows a reserved royal bodyguard and the perky personal assistant of the prince he protects.
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The second book in Lucy Parker’s Palace Insiders series, Codename Charming, is a light-hearted rom-com that perfectly deploys the grumpy-sunshine and fake dating tropes. Unbelievably fun on every page, it’s another all-around winner from Parker.

Petunia “Pet” De Vere is the personal assistant of Johnny Marchmont, a goofy, lovable British royal who stops just shy of being a himbo. He’s the perfect boss for Pet, who is very proficient at her job and happy to adapt to whatever Johnny throws at her. But when a blundering moment between them goes public, the tabloids assume there’s more to their relationship than duty. Johnny is a happily married man, so the palace higher-ups ask Pet to fake a relationship with Johnny’s stoic bodyguard, Matthias Vaughn, in order to immediately quash rumors of an affair.

Matthias is the opposite of his charge. Johnny goes with the flow, affably making his way through life and duty, and Matthias is there to pick up the pieces and provide a stalwart wall of support. He grew up in the foster system, and always felt like he was merely tolerated in the places he lived, rather than accepted. His history, however painful, has made him well-suited for his profession, where his serious reserve is a major asset. Having proved his indispensability time and again, Matthias agrees to the fake relationship with the very perky Petunia.

Matthias and Pet are enjoyable characters with rich backstories. They’re refreshingly mature, understanding how they fit into the narrative of the royal institution and Johnny’s life. When they gamble on a real relationship, they not only have to face the normal fears that come when you let love in, but also balance them with their individual duties. No matter what happens between them, they must maintain their professional focus given that their lives unfold, at least partially, in the public eye. 

As usual, Parker surrounds her couple with a robust cast of fun supporting characters who never overshadow the two central figures. Even if you aren’t a professed Anglophile, Codename Charming is a breezy read that’ll have you smiling and dreaming of fish and chips—and maybe a quiet bodyguard who’s over the moon for you.

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Codename Charming

Codename Charming

By Lucy Parker
ISBN 9780063040106

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