Monday, 12 August 2013

Blog Tour: K.I Paterka's "Royal Secrets."

The Hopeless Romantics Book Blog are pleased to be part of Kathleen Irene Paterka's Blog Tour of "Royal Secrets."


The Royal Wedding Chapel of Las Vegas
Where dreams come true and are just as easily destroyed… 
Immersed in the regal world of weddings and romance, Lily Lavender grew up believing in brides, grooms and happily-ever-afters. A direct descendent of the British royals, it seemed her destiny and royal birthright to someday assume a position as wedding coordinator in their family-owned wedding chapel business. But when her mother Mimi’s third marriage eventually fails, Lily’s dreams of her own happily-ever-after quickly fade. She’s no longer interested in a life of assisting brides walk down the aisle into a life of disillusionment and possible divorce. Lily turns her back on The Royal Wedding Chapel and leaves Las Vegas to fashion a life of her own.

Years later, Lily—now a single mom—discovers her teenage daughter has run off to Las Vegas, lured by Mimi to help run the chapel. Determined to save her daughter from the broken dreams of Sin City and the nonsensical world of which family fairy tales are made, Lily returns to Las Vegas. But nothing prepares Lily for the royal drama which awaits her… or the sins and secrets she stumbles across that threaten to close the chapel and ruin her family forever.

Review: Surj Harvey

"Royal Secrets" was my first experience of chick literature and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I wasn't sure what to expect as I'm so used to reading romance novels but I was definitely pleasantly surprised. The story had me captivated from the word go and the characters definitely kept me wanting to read further. 

Having spent her youth working in the family's wedding chapel in Vegas, Lily had seen both the highs and lows of love and marriage. Unfortunately it was the lows that had affected her the most and the first opportunity she got, Lily took her daughter and got the hell out of sin city. Love was definitely for losers and "Happily ever after?" well that definitely didn't exist. 

I'm forty years old, and that naive little girl I used to be disappeared long ago. 
She learned that happily ever after is merely an illusion. 

After being forced to return, Lily was intent on making sure her daughter (Tori) didn't get sucked into the whole hearts, flowers and romance thing that went hand in hand with the chapel. But that was going to prove even harder than she first thought:

I know what Tori wants, I've always known. She fell in love with all things royal- 
the family tiara and the family business- on her second birthday. 

Lily was head strong but she was stubborn. She would fight tooth and nail to ensure that after two months, both herself and Tori would return to California. Well, that was going to prove difficult considering Tori had no intention of going back and other members of the family only sought to encourage this decision. 

"She loves her school and her friends. I refuse to pull her out."
"You and I both know she doesn't care squat about that school. 
She wants to be here, in Las Vegas, with us. That's all she's ever wanted."

My heart really went out to Lily because it was like everyone was ganging up on her. She had worked her ass off as a single mother to give her daughter the best and it was like they were all throwing it back at her. This only made her dig her heels in deeper. 

I really couldn't work Jack out and much like Lily, spent most of the book not trusting him. Was anything he said the truth or did he just hide behind that smug gin of his. He came across as arrogant and cocky, not someone that I would find appealing at all but with their past, Lilly struggled at times with her feelings. Thank god it didn't take her long to get a reality check. 

And Mimi (the Queen Mother), holy hell, I could truly see why Lily had gone running. This woman was arrogant, pretentious and a complete control freak:

"No you don't understand. Mimi wanted me to fetch her 
some clothes and fix her hair before I called 911."

Even after she suffered a stroke, she wanted her hair done before the paramedics arrived!!! Who the hell does that? The Queen Mother of course. This woman drove me nuts. I think she drove everyone nuts (everyone except Tori who just idolized her). Tori was your typical teenager who threw tantrums when things didn't go her way but was very much like her grandmother in that when she wanted something, no one would stop her getting it. She was very much a hopeless romantic (the polar opposite of her mother). 

But this wasn't a straight forward story and the more I read, the more I realised that there were secrets, lots of secrets. But how many people knew what Mimi was hiding and what lengths would Mimi go to, to ensure these secrets remained dead and buried? Unfortunately Lily bore the brunt of these secrets being exposed and that really hurt to read. Her whole life had been one big lie. I felt so sorry for her because it was like everyone had been in on it. Were Lily and Tori the only ones who were left out in the rain? 

Two old women, hiding secrets all these years. What do they want from me? 
Forgiveness? Redemption? If they think I'm going to cover things up like they've 
been doing, hiding the past and all its dark, dirty secrets, they have another thing coming. 

Personally, I found the fact that there were no repercussions for what happened a little unrealistic. I wish the secrets had just stayed within the family because the fall out just didn't ring true for me. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was well written with a story line (other than the bit I just mentioned) that was realistic and believable. The characters were well developed and I'd definitely love to see what happens next for Lily and Tori. 
I rated "Royal Secrets" 4 Hearts

Guest Post from Kathleen Irene Paterka:

I love secrets. Who doesn't  Being in on a secret can be tremendous fun. You know something that others don’t. Sometimes the secrets are delicious! (“He’s going to ask her to marry him tomorrow night… and wait till you see the diamond ring!”). Sometimes they come as a complete surprise (“Guess what, Mom and Dad? We’re pregnant!”). But sometimes, the secrets can be dreadful and dramatic, causing turmoil and heartbreak when the truth is finally revealed… or stumbled upon by accident.

Two days before her wedding to Prince Charles on July 29, 1981, Princess Diana (then, the Lady Diana Spencer) discovered a horrible secret he’d been keeping from her. Charles had been carrying on a torrid affair with his mistress Camilla. He was still in love with her, and he had no intention of giving Camilla up after the marriage. As Diana later commented to friends, “My wedding day was the worst day of my life… I felt like a lamb being led to the slaughter.” No wonder. Charles and Diana had only been out together on thirteen dates before they married. Her sisters stopped her from calling things off. “Too late… your face is on the tea towel. You can’t chicken out.” And so Diana married her prince. As the Archbishop of Canterbury said at their wedding, “Here is the stuff of which fairy tales are made.”

Unfortunately, we now know it was a fractured fairy tale, one which ended in despair, divorce, and ultimately, Diana’s death on August 31, 1997. The world mourned its princess, and grieved along with Diana’s two young sons, Prince William (15) and Prince Harry (12). Royalty watchers the world over rejoiced on April 29, 2011, as William married his Kate at Westminster Abbey. Next up to walk the aisle? Prince Harry, now the world’s most eligible bachelor.

Whatever you think about the British royals, there’s no denying that they know their stuff when it comes to putting on a royal wedding. I love brides and weddings. My day job as staff writer at a real American castle which hosts numerous weddings (nearly 200 last year) feeds my fix for royalty and romance. When I began daydreaming about a plot for a new book, my love for all things royal and weddings came into play. But it wasn't until my daughter and her husband settled in Las Vegas a few years ago that I really started thinking. Las Vegas, the wedding capital of the world. Voila! The framework for a new story was born.


I haven’t worked a chapel wedding in years, and for a few moments, I find myself caught up in the beautiful romantic dream unfolding around me. It’s a large wedding party, and family and friends crowd the pews of our grandest room, the King Edward’s Chapel. Francesca runs the music as I wait with the bride, who is radiant in a rhinestone-encrusted, strapless sweetheart gown with a floor-sweeping train. I stand just inside the chapel door, watching as she starts down the aisle to meet her groom. The ceremony runs a little longer than usual, but other than that, everything is perfect… until I hear raised voices and a din from outside. Opening the door a crack, I peek out and spot a second bride stalking the room.
“We’ve been waiting out here five minutes,” she complains as I slip out to greet her wedding party.
“I’m very sorry,” I say, remembering Francesca’s warning that Bride Number Two would be a problem. Their ceremony is scheduled for early afternoon in the smaller, more intimate Queen Elizabeth’s Chapel Royal. “We’re a little understaffed today.”
The scowl on her face deepens as the King Edward Chapel doors open and the first wedding party streams through the lobby. They crowd the room with noisy happiness as Francesca escorts them outside into the sunshine.
“These flowers are not what I ordered.” Bride Number Two balks at the bouquet I remove from the cooler. “I ordered cream-colored roses. Cream-colored. These aren’t cream, they’re blush… and they’re not even fresh.” She shoves them back into my hands.
“Let me see what I can do.” I slide behind the reception desk and scramble for her file. Not that it will make much difference. According to Francesca, the florist missed his regular delivery yesterday. Very few flowers are left in the cooler.
“Carlos, this is all your fault.” She turns to her groom, seated on the bench behind her. “I told you we would have problems with this place.”
I glance at Mimi’s paperwork, praying everything else is in order for their ceremony. At least this wedding party is smaller than the first: the bride and groom plus two witnesses and a toddler with wispy blond hair in a jewel-encrusted dress matching the bride’s. I put the finishing touches on their contract and wait for the printer to churn out a copy while keeping an eye on the little one wandering the reception area. She can’t keep her hands off anything. She leaves a trail of smeary smudges on the large glass cabinets showcasing the bridal jewelry, unity candles, and sand-pouring sets. She circles the room and yanks at the small potted trees lining the entrance. I cringe as she breaks off one of the branches, sniffs it, then tosses it on the floor. Finally she comes to a halt in front of Mimi’s prized possession, the heirloom tiara. She sticks her nose against the bulletproof glass, fogging it with her breath. “I want that.”
“Shania, you shut your mouth.” The bride glowers at the little girl. “This is Mama and Daddy’s wedding day. I don’t need you making trouble.”
The little girl starts to cry, and the groom grabs his daughter, hoists her in his arms. “Don’t you worry, honey. We’ll get you a crown of your very own once Mama and Daddy get married.”
“But I want it now.” She buries her head in his shoulder and wails even louder.
Bride Number Two rolls her eyes and turns back to me. “Like I said, these flowers are not what I want.”
I take a deep breath. Dealing with this bride is not what I want. “I’m very sorry. Things are a little hectic around here today.”
“That’s not my problem.” She shifts her hip and glares at me.
“If you give me a moment, I’m sure we can make things right.” Exactly how I’ll accomplish that, I’m not sure. But I am convinced of the dire necessity.
“Damn right you will.” She taps a glittering acrylic nail on the paperwork between us. “We paid good money to have our wedding here. That woman who booked us promised everything would be perfect. Well, guess what? It’s not.” Her eyes narrow. “Where is she? I want to talk to her.”
Who booked their wedding? Francesca or Mimi? I suppose it makes no difference. Francesca is busy with Bride Number One. And as for Mimi…
“I’m sorry, but I’m afraid that isn’t possible,” I say, remembering Mimi’s admonishment over the years. Keep calm and carry on. It worked with the English people in WWII. It works with brides.
“She said she was the owner. If that’s true, she’d better own up to this mess and fix it now.” She turns her head toward her groom. “I never should have let you talk me into this place,” she mutters in a voice loud enough for me to overhear. “That bitch better show up and make things right or she’ll be sorry.”
“Excuse me?” My head snaps up and I eye her across the counter.
She turns back to me with a don’t-play-dumb-you-heard-what-I-said smirk.
“I’ll be glad to take care of things.” I grant her a gracious smile, surprised to hear my voice so pleasant. A rush of cool calmness drapes me, and suddenly everything seems easy. “Why don’t you have a seat while I make the arrangements.” I point to the upholstered couch where Carolos, their daughter, and the witnesses wait. “This should only take a minute.”
“About time,” the bride mutters. She flounces across the room and wiggles her way onto the bench without spilling out of her mermaid gown. The groom’s face is nearly as red as the plush velvet covering the seat. My heart goes out to him. Poor guy. He hasn’t a voice, and he hasn’t a clue. This marriage is doomed before it starts.
I scan their contract and verify the deposit they made last month. Mimi would kill me if she ever found out what I’m about to do. The chapel’s policy is firm. Brides are never wrong. Brides pay the bills. But Mimi isn’t here. She’s confined to a hospital bed. And no matter how much Mimi might annoy and frustrate me, no one—NO ONE—calls my mother a bitch.
Picking up the phone, I punch in a number I could recite in my sleep. “Jaabir, please bring the limousine around.”
Five uncomfortable minutes later, he strolls in the front door. Suave and debonair in a black suit, crisp white shirt, and stiff-brimmed hat crowning his head, Jaabir looks every bit capable of chauffeuring the royal couple at Buckingham Palace.
I nod toward Bride Number Two and her party. “These people need a ride.”
“Is the wedding already over?” He glances at his watch. “I thought it wasn’t until two o’clock.”
“It’s been rescheduled,” I say. “They are getting married today. They just won’t be getting married here.”
“Now, you just wait a minute.” Bride Number Two extricates herself from the bench and thunders across the room, a fiery storm on glittering five-inch heels. She slaps her rhinestone clutch on the counter. “We came to Las Vegas to get married.”
I ring up the refund, print the receipt, and punch the button opening the cash register. “Congratulations.”
“We drove all the way from Los Angeles to get married here… at the Royal Wedding Chapel.”
“Las Vegas has plenty of wedding chapels. Our chauffeur will take you wherever you like.”
“Forget this shit. We’re not going anywhere.” Bride Number Two scowls at me. “I want to talk to the manager.”
“You’re talking to her.” I count out five crisp one-hundred-dollar bills and slide them across the counter. “Here’s a full refund and your receipt.”
“You can’t do this,” she sputters.
“I believe I just did.”

About Kathleen:

Kathleen Irene Paterka is the author of numerous women’s fiction novels which embrace universal themes of home, family life and love, including ROYAL SECRETS and the James Bay series (FATTY PATTY, HOME FIRES, LOTTO LUCY and FOR I HAVE SINNED). Kathleen is the resident staff writer for Castle Farms, a world renowned castle listed on the National Historic Register, and co-author of the non-fiction book FOR THE LOVE OF A CASTLE, published in 2012. Having lived and studied abroad, Kathleen's educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Michigan University. She and her husband live in the beautiful north country of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

Contact Kathleen: 
Scribbling Divas Blog: 

1 comment:

  1. So glad you enjoyed ROYAL SECRETS. Thank you so much for the lovely review! And thank you for hosting me on my final stop of the 'royal blog tour'. Honored to be here!

    ~ Kathleen