Author: Laura Purcell
Publisher: Myrmidon Books
Type of book: England, George III, royal family, strong female protagonists, madness, 1788-1818, choices, family vs freedom, routine vs chaos, wars
Year it was published: 2014
London 1788. The calm order of Queen Charlotte’s court is shattered by screams. The King of England is going mad. Left alone with thirteen children and with the country at war, Charlotte has to fight to hold her husband’s throne. It is a time of unrest and revolutions but most of all Charlotte fears the King himself, someone she can no longer love or trust. She has lost her marriage to madness and there is nothing she can do except continue to do her royal duty.
Her six daughters are desperate to escape their palace asylum. Their only chance lies in a good marriage, but no prince wants the daughter of a madman. They are forced to take love wherever they can find it, with devastating consequences.
The moving true story of George III’s madness and the women whose lives it destroyed.
There are a lot of characters, but the important ones include Charlotte, wife of George III who has to deal with the fact her husband isn't himself anymore as well as trying to keep her daughters with her instead of allowing them to build their own lives. She is a very strong and bitter woman. There is also Royal who tries her best to be sensitive to both her mother and father at the cost of her own desires and happiness, and there is Sophia who is impetuous and also has to make a big sacrifice when it comes to her family. She is not as sensitive as Royal, but like Royal, she also resents the way their family is and how limited they are when it comes to everything. Some minor characters include George III who has episodes of sanity and madness as well as his sons, the heir who has to make sacrifices of his own as well as Ernest who unknowingly helps his sister commit a dangerous act and also Garth who presents a choice to Sophia.
Each choice has a sacrifice
The book is written in third person narrative, in beginning from Charlotte and Royal's points of views, and then Sophia was added in. I did feel that Sophia was added in a little late, but other than that, a very strong book of mental illness and its effects on the royal family. The author does kind of warn when a point of view change will be occurring. The book also goes in chronological order, from 1788 up until 1818? when Charlotte passes away?
(From Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)
Beyond the episode with American Colonies, I didn't know anything King George III. I only knew that he is considered a mad king and that's it. I also doubt that many people have asked how has madness affected his family? His wife and daughters in particular? This book answers that question as well as shows what its like to be married to someone who is thought of as insane as well as being in spotlight all the time. I have really developed pity for the characters and amazement at their fortitude and survival during those times. The most amazing part of the book is characterization and how I understood why they changed the way they did.
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4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)