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Audrey Miller
Birth Order

Power. Privilege. Paparazzi. Pregnancy. Princess. Birth Order is a gripping modern tale about an ancient tradition Angela Francis is a London obstetrician/gynecologist to the wealthy and powerful. Her star patient, Clementine, Princess of Wales, is having twins. Clementine is happy to be having both a boy and a girl, and is thrilled that the girl is positioned to deliver first, making her daughter the future Queen of England. But when Angela makes a brief trip to the United States, Clementine unexpectedly goes into labor and is delivered by Angela’s partner. He performs a cesarean section and delivers the boy first - ensuring a male heir to the throne. Angela is devastated and determined to find out what happened during the delivery, and more importantly — why. Can she get to the truth before members of the Privy Council for the Preservation of the Monarchy get to her? Fast-paced and edgy, Birth Order is a thriller that explores the tensions between a more modernized British Monarchy and the ambitions of 21st century courtesans who would do anything to maintain the status quo.

Miller’s engaging debut takes readers on a turbulent ride of secrets and betrayal set against a backdrop of royal intrigue. Clementine Sloane, newly wed to August, the Prince of Wales, is pregnant with twins and due to deliver in a few weeks when a fall launches her into preterm labor and kicks off much subterfuge, all centered around the newly proclaimed Succession to the Crown Act of 2013 that allows for the firstborn male or female child to inherit the throne. When an emergency caesarean section produces an unexpected male twin as the firstborn, Clementine’s childhood friend and obstetrician, Dr. Angela Francis, who has sworn to protect her against all odds, is quickly swept into the conspiracies that threaten her own life and those closest to her.

Clementine, a “beloved, working-class commoner who won the heart of the future King of England,” plays the quintessential fiery princess in this diverting yet somewhat predictable thriller. She is fiercely protective of her children, head over heels in love with her husband, and plagued by the paparazzi, who will stop at nothing to smear her name in the press. Surrounded by a cast of royals who spend their time conniving or even turning to desperate measures to escape blackmail, Clementine and Angela try to navigate the deception surrounding the royal birth — both women suspect that birth order was purposefully reversed in order to put a male on the throne.

Miller exposes the risqué side of the royal family and modern-day London, replete with underground sex clubs, last-ditch efforts to save old family fortunes, and graphic murders. Inevitably, the iron fist of The Corporation (the nickname given to the realm’s decision makers) rules throughout, harshly dictating every detail, from the twins’ names to where they will be raised. Despite tidiness of the ending, Miller’s characters are allowed some panache to add color to the plot of this royal mystery.

Takeaway: Readers who enjoy royal intrigue with a sprinkling of lasciviousness will soak up this thriller.

Great for fans of: Lucinda Riley’s The Royal Secret, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan’s The Royal We.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A