Sunday, December 23, 2012

God Save the King (Laura Purcell)

I stumbled across this book by accident when a friend added it on Goodreads.  Where was the publicity for this book?  It certainly deserved some!

This was a completely engrossing novel.  Told from the points of view of Queen Charlotte, her daughters Princess Charlotte (called Royal in the book) and Princess Sophia, it painted a vivd portrait of this Hanoverian family beset by so much tragedy.  Queen Charlotte is the beloved wife of King George, who is slowly slipping into madness.  Their five daughters, once happy and joyous, now needed at home to help in the struggle to keep their father sane.  As the family ages, the King slips further and further from them, and Queen Charlotte keeps her daughters closer and closer as she slides into her own bitterness.  As the Princesses age, they long for escape from the misery of their father's illness and their mother's resentment, yet every offer of marriage is refused as the Queen's selfishness will not allow them to escape.  Eventually Royal does marry, and finds both happiness and tragedy in her own family.  Meanwhile, the other girls long for their own lives to begin, leading to scandalous rumors, some true and some untrue and even a premature death. I began the story feeling much sympathy for Queen Charlotte, but eventually her bitterness pushed her family ( and this reader) away from her.  The- almost middle-aged when she married -Royal was the most sympathetic figure in my opinion, though they were all interesting characters.  Very well-researched and beautifully written.  This is the story of King George's women and all they sacrificed to heal the man they loved.

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