Rivals by Katharine McGee

The basics

Title: Rivals


Series: American Royals #3

- American Royals (2019)
- Majesty (2020)
- Rivals (2022)
- Reign (2023)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

Beatrice is queen, and for the American royal family, everything is about to change.

Relationships will be tested. Princess Samantha is in love with Lord Marshall Davis—but the more serious they get, the more complicated things become. Is Sam destined to repeat her string of broken relationships…and this time will the broken heart be her own?

Strangers will become friends. Beatrice is representing America at the greatest convocation of kings and queens in the world. When she meets a glamorous foreign princess, she gets drawn into the inner circle…but at what cost?

And rivals will become allies. Nina and Daphne have spent years competing for Prince Jefferson. Now they have something in common: they both want to take down manipulative Lady Gabriella Madison. Can these enemies join forces, or will old rivalries stand in the way?

Read a full summary of Rivals by Katharine McGee below. If you can’t remember what happened in Rivals and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

What happened in Rivals?

  • Bea and Teddy have just been on their honeymoon to the Caribbean and are now returning to the US. 
  • Bea’s new chamberlain is called Anju. Teddy wants to know what he can contribute as King Consort and asks about the kinds of responsibilities he could take on.
  • Because the public isn’t loving Bea at the moment, Anju suggests they focus on a multinational peace treaty called the League of Kings, for which an annual conference is being held in the US this year. Normally it’s a chance for the kings and their sons to meet up, but obviously Bea is a Queen so she’ll be mixing things up a bit and proving herself.
  • Sam and Nina are heading to Orange to see Marshall. This will be the first time Sam is meeting Marshall’s parents so she’s nervous.
  • Marshall picks them up from the airport, and Sam realises she is in love with him.
  • Jeff and Daphne are attending a charity event together.
  • Jeff has been named Regent while Bea is attending the League of Kings gathering in Orange.
  • Daphne is hoping to win the Person of the Year award. Her rival for this award is Lady Gabriella Madison, who greets Jeff but ignores Daphne.
  • Gabriella wins the award, probably because her father donated a tonne of money to the charity.
  • Nina moves into her new dorm, which is very gothic and only has one bathroom.
  • Nina tells Rachel she has spoken to Ethan once over the summer when Rachel asks.
  • Jeff and Nina bump into each other and Jeff asks to be friends. Nina agrees.
  • The League of Kings procession begins. Bea has to hold the cauldron with the eternal flame, which goes out when she trips up.
  • Bea speaks with Princess Louise of France very briefly. The two are friendly, and Bea wishes Louise’s father well. This doesn’t seem to go down very well though.
  • Sam and Marshall dance at the event. Marshall learns that his ex, Kelsey, said that Sam and Marshall are fake dating in an interview with the press.
  • Daphne’s mother tells her their family is in danger of losing their title because Daphne’s father has been caught gambling. This was reported to Gabriella’s father, the Duke of Virginia. 
  • Daphne’s mother tells her they can no longer pay for her to go to college, and Daphne isn’t allowed to apply for financial aid in case anyone finds out and humiliates them.
  • Jeff calls Nina and asks if she wants to join him for dinner in the dining hall. Jeff, Nina, and a bunch of friends sit together. Gabriella invites Jeff to a party, and Jeff agrees but invites Nina along. Nina doesn’t like Gabriella’s vibe.
  • Bea gets ready for the day and thinks about how much she misses her father. Bea takes her dog for a walk and bumps into Louise, who joins her on the run. They chat a bit about vulnerabilities and being a female ruler.
  • Sam and Marshall walk the red carpet together at a premiere for Sam’s Aunt Margaret. Margaret tells Sam her relationship with Marshall is merely a fling.
  • Marshall and Sam eat together at the after party. They’re approached by a pair of actors, who tell them they’ll be playing Sam and Marshall in an upcoming movie.
  • Nina finds Jeff at the party they were invited to and they chat over food. Nina then bumps into Gabriella in the kitchen, who is very rude as usual.
  • Jeff goes swimming, and while he’s in the water Gabriella makes rude comments about both Nina and Jeff. Nina tells Gabriella she is spoilt and a terrible friend.
  • At breakfast, Bea is about to sit next to Queen Irene of Slovenia when Louise intercepts and asks her to sit with her instead.
  • Louise decides she should throw a party.
  • Bea returns to her rooms. She notices that Teddy has been bored lately, and Teddy tells her that after Louise’s party he will go to Boston to help his brother with his duties.
  • Nina attends an author event at the library. She receives an email telling her she doesn’t qualify for financial aid, and the email is signed by Gabriella’s father.
  • Nina bumps into Daphne at the author event and is surprised that Daphne is a fan. They get talking and argue over the villain of the book series. Daphne heads to the bar and Nina follows.
  • Nina tells Daphne her financial aid has been cancelled and that Gabriella is behind it. Neither girl likes Gabriella so they bond a little over that.
  • Daphne and Jeff talk after the event and Daphne admits that she’s not sure taking a gap year was the correct thing to do. Jeff asks Daphne to co-host a military banquet with him. 
  • Sam goes to dinner with Marshall’s family. She brings gifts because she’s nervous. Marshall’s grandfather seems very cold, and shuts down Sam’s new years plans. Sam bonds with Marshall’s sister, Rory. Sam overhears Marshall tell his grandfather that his relationship with Sam isn’t serious.
  • Daphne shows up while Nina is working at the library. She wants them to work together to take down Gabriella. Nina agrees.
  • Daphne learns that her mother is selling furniture to make money to cover her father’s legal fees.
  • Daphne starts planning for Gabriella’s birthday party.
  • Daphne sends a photo of herself and Jeff to a journalist.
  • Nina bumps into Jeff at the palace when she’s trying to find a dress for the party. They pretend to sword fight a little and Nina falls into Jeff.
  • Bea goes to Louise’s party and asks where Marshall is. Sam tells Bea what she overheard at dinner.
  • Louise and her friends start a game of kiss, marry, kill. Bea joins in.
  • Sam waits for Marshall to arrive. When he does, he asks Sam what’s wrong as she seems sad. She tells Marshall what she overheard. Marshall tells Sam he loves her, but he can’t give up his dukedom for her. They break up.
  • Later on in Bea’s room, Teddy asks Bea if she has thought about what duties he could take on. Bea tells Teddy she has been too busy to think about it, and it’s really challenging to find something suitable because Congress will need to approve it. Teddy says he feels like a trophy husband. He renounces his duchy title, and asks Bea to sign off on it. She doesn’t.
  • Gabriella is already being rude at her own birthday party. Daphne and Nina snoop in Gabriella’s room. Daphne makes a copy of the files on Gabriella’s computer. Nina gives the signal that someone is coming and Daphne hides behind a curtain while Gabriella enters her room and snorts some cocaine. Gabriella sees the flash drive that Daphne was using on the floor and picks it up.
  • Nina and Daphne try to leave the party but there are no cars available. Nina offers to give Daphne a ride home and they stop to get tacos. They chat about Jeff and their parents and plan to do more scheming the following week.
  • Sam attends a party at King’s College. She sees Daphne and Nina joking around together, which is surprising. Sam and Nina go outside and talk about Marshall. Sam invites Nina to the League of Kings closing banquet.
  • Bea and Sam are chatting about Nina when Louise interrupts and invites them to a party on a yacht owned by the Russian tsar, Dimitri. 
  • Louise does Bea’s makeup for her and Bea notices she looks a bit like Louise.
  • At the party, the men start undoing one shirt button an hour.
  • Bea bumps into Dimitri, who invites her to play poker with him. Bea agrees and proposes that if she wins, Dimitri must side with her on the climate bill. If she loses, Dimitri will get Bea’s tiara. Bea wins.
  • At Daphne’s house, Nina spots a photo on the nightstand which she thinks she recognises. She doesn’t realise it’s the photo that Daphne sold to Natasha, the journalist.
  • Daphne and Nina discuss Gabriella and the plot to take her down. They think Daphne should befriend Gabriella and ask for advice on how to break up with Jeff. 
  • Nina helps Jeff with his essay in the library. After, Jeff walks her home.
  • Marshall arrives while Sam is doing a photoshoot. Once the shoot wraps up, Sam quickly heads out and hides in Bea’s office. There she finds the document in which Teddy renounces his duchy title.
  • Marshall has followed Sam and the two of them admit they miss each other. Sam shows Marshall Teddy’s documents and tells him she doesn’t want Marshall to do that. Marshall tells Sam he can’t live without her. They try to decide what to do.
  • While Daphne is setting up the military party, Queen Adelaide talks to her about how she’s not needed any more now that the children are growing up. Adelaide lends Daphne a diamond bracelet. 
  • Daphne and Jeff attend an after party. Gabriella is there and Daphne tries to be nice to her for the Plan. Jeff leaves the party because he’s not enjoying himself. He doesn’t text Daphne goodnight.
  • Louise invites Bea to spend some time in France with her. They fly out together and Bea meets King Louis, who is very rude to Louise. He doesn’t seem to know who his daughter is. Louise cries because her father isn’t recovering like she had hoped.
  • Daphne attends another party with Jeff. Daphne stages an argument with Jeff and accuses him of cheating on her. She tells him she knows he was with someone the night Himari fell. Jeff is confused by this whole thing and also about why Daphne is bringing this up now.
  • Daphne asks Gabriella to come to the bathroom with her because she needs a friend. Daphne tells Gabriella about the suspected cheating. She asks Gabriella for drugs.
  • Gabriella snorts cocaine before they leave the bathroom. Nina tells Gabriella she filmed this and threatens to share it unless Nina’s financial aid gets reinstated. Gabriella attacks Nina before running off.
  • Louise and Bea go stargazing and talk about the future and sexism. Louise tells Bea that she is having a going with Alexei, and Bea shares that she used to love her Revere Guard.
  • Jeff’s Guard calls Nina and tells her Jeff is drunk and asking for her. Nina goes to them and convinces Jeff to get into the car. They head back to the palace and watch a film, and end up wrestling for the remote. There’s some flirting. Jeff tells Nina that things have been weird with Daphne.
  • Sam attends a conference on maritime law. She and Marshall have agreed to date in secret. Alexei tells Sam about a previous monarch who gave up his title and moved to Hawaii. 
  • Sam and Marshall attend a football game in disguise.
  • Nina and Daphne shop for dresses together. Daphne apologises for being mean to Nina in the past. Nina feels guilty because of how things have been developing with Jeff. Nina calls her mother for a chat and asks if she thinks people can change.
  • At breakfast, Bea is thinking about the upcoming event. She’s excited that Teddy will be attending with her. She thinks she has gained more respect after returning from France.
  • The vote on Bea’s climate bill takes place. Louise votes against it and Bea is upset.
  • Nina and Daphne are chatting at the state ball. Nina says her financial aid has been reinstated. Daphne reveals that she wants to go to King’s College next semester, and they hope they can be on the same floor of the dorms.
  • Daphne’s mother calls her and tells her the family has been stripped of their titles because Daphne interfered with her father’s trial. 
  • Daphne sends the video of Gabriella doing cocaine to the press.
  • Sam bumps into her Aunt Margaret at the state ball. Margaret tells Sam that she lived in Hawaii for a few years in the 70’s. Sam considers this as an option.
  • Bea avoids Louise to begin with but Louise finds her and says she had to betray Bea to make her father happy. Bea tells Louise they are no longer friends. Louise tells Bea that Teddy is selfless, and also mentions Connor. Teddy overhears and gets upset.
  • Daphne confronts Gabriella, who says she never promised Daphne anything. Gabriella says her parents don’t care about the drugs. Gabriella tells Jeff that Daphne has been selling photos of them to the press. Jeff gets upset and leaves.
  • Sam makes the decision to give up being a princess. She and Bea go to the study to talk about it. Bea agrees to fully support Sam as long as she’s sure Marshall is the one for her.
  • Bea returns to the party. She makes a speech about how the monarchs are selfish and they should be working together. Louise announces she wants to revote on the climate bill. Some others jump in and others say they can’t vote at a party (I agree, it’s ridiculous). The revote happens and the bill passes.
  • Louise asks Bea to meet tomorrow morning for a run.
  • A monarch asks Nina to dance and she hesitates, thinking of Jeff. Nina and Jeff talk and then kiss.
  • Daphne of course sees this, and realises that Jeff was with Nina years ago when Himari had the accident. She gets upset and runs off. Daphne thinks Nina has been working against her the entire time.
  • Nina pulls away from the kiss and tells Jeff this is wrong because of his relationship with Daphne. Nina tells Jeff she wants to be a true friend to Daphne. Jeff tells Nina he fixed the financial aid issue and that it wasn’t Gabriella at all.
  • Sam tells Marshall about her plans. Marshall agrees to give up his title as well so they can live together and be normal.
  • Bea and Teddy talk. He says he doesn’t feel like an equal and that Bea seems to be holding back. Bea thinks Teddy has been keeping things from her too. He agrees, and shows her his family ring that he was planning to use to propose. Teddy wants some space and heads to Nantucket.
  • Jeff asks to speak to Daphne in private. Daphne thinks Jeff is about to break up with her, and so she insinuates that she is pregnant to buy herself more time.
  • Bea goes to find Sam but can’t find her. In Sam’s room Bea finds a note saying she is giving up the princess thing. Bea takes this as a sign that she too needs to sort herself out, and decides to go and find Teddy before his plane takes off.
  • Unfortunately, the car Bea is in crashes.
  • Sam and Marshall head to Hawaii. 
  • Nina wonders where Sam went. She bumps into Anju, who tells Nina that Bea was in a car crash and is in the ICU. Anju asks Nina if she knows where Sam is.
  • Nina heads to the hospital and finds Daphne and Jeff there in Bea’s hospital room. Nina realises Daphne saw her kiss Jeff.
  • Nina gets upset and rushes out and is hounded by the press. She tells them she doesn’t know what’s going to happen next.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Rivals by Katharine McGee. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

Other recaps for this series:

Leave a reply