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HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
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The Queen's Secret: A Novel of England's World War II Queen Kindle Edition
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Praise for American Duchess: "Harper's latest immerses readers in British high society, with intrigue and gossip around every corner...this tender, well researched novel lets readers see the economic, social, and political highlights of the nineteenth-century Gilded Age brought to life through Consuelo Vanderbilt's eyes."--Booklist
Harper's enchanting latest (after American Duchess) explores the private life of Queen Elizabeth, formerly Elizabeth Bowes Lyon...Harper's evocative prose and able plotting make each twist and turn believable. This displays Harper's mastery at fictional profiles of prominent 20th-century women.--Publishers Weekly
Praise for American Duchess: "This absorbing and evocative tale is an excellent reminder of what women have long sacrificed over the centuries for family honor and duty, and how they navigated their circumstances and influence to change the world for the better."--Heather Webb, international bestselling author of Last Christmas in Paris
Praise for The It Girls: "The It Girls is a glorious romp through the lives and loves of the scintillating Sutherland sisters.... Readers who enjoy historical fiction are in for a treat!"
--Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of The Cottingley Secret and The Girl Who Came Home
The Windsors continue to fascinate as we watch a new generation grow up. Harper's novel draws attention to the heroism and strength of the royal family during a trying time in history. A strong selection for those interested in a more personal imagining of royal life at that time.--Library Journal
"Well researched and beautifully written, I highly recommend The Queen's Secret."--Romance Reviews Today
"If you thought the Queen Mum was a benign, plump, cheery old lady, think again. In Karen Harper's novel she is tough, determined, and fabulously gossipy. Reading this novel is like sitting next to an indiscreet royal insider at a private dinner."--Gill Paul, bestselling author of The Lost Daughter
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
About the Author
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B07V9F9DQD
- Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks; Illustrated edition (19 May 2020)
- Language : English
- File size : 1302 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 381 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 17,832 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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But behind that smile we came to know so well there were secrets she kept hidden.
In 1923, after three proposals, Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon married the Albert Fredrick Arthur George, the Duke of York, the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. David, Prince of Wales was the eldest son of the then King and Queen and next in line to the throne and upon ascending to the position, he then became King Edward VIII. But, as history recounts well, he met and fell in love with twice-divorced Wallis Simpson. So in marrying her he abdicated, thrusting his shier and self-conscious brother Bertie, the then Duke of York, onto the throne to become King George VI. In 1926, future Queen Elizabeth, known as Lilibet, was born followed by her more gregarious younger sister Margaret, known as Margot to the family, in 1930.
THE QUEEN'S SECRET is an interesting historical fictionalised tale examining various rumours and theories about the private life of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen consort to King George VI. Beginning in the summer of 1939, we follow the King and Queen on their tour of America and Canada, the declaration of war, the fall of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the incoming Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The story takes place throughout the duration of the war and gives a rare insight into life as a royal, a Queen no less, during such a terrifying and trying time. The sight looking out of the window of Buckingham Palace down the Mall to see a Messerschmidt flying straight towards the palace would have been a terrifying sight to see. And the palace did not escape the Blitz or the bombing of London, though nowhere near as pummeled as the East End and the docks, it was targeted and it was damaged...as was Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the House of Commons which apparently had been reduced to rubble.
It is no secret that the Queen was a great support to King George VI throughout his reign, particularly during the war. Even Churchill valued her input as she was involved in the weekly meetings between the King and the Prime Minister, as well as other government officials. When the King was unavailable, Elizabeth too his place at briefings. She never shied away from the responsibilities of the position they held as King and Queen, and insisted on visiting the East End to survey the damage inflicted during the Blitz. Her own maid (I can't remember in what capacity now), Bessie, was from West Ham in the East End where her family still lived and Elizabeth took a personal interest in them while despite her own fears, she visited troops, hospitals and factories as well as being a loving mother to Lilibet and Margot.
Throughout the war, the royal family shared the same hardships and restrictions as the common people - rationing and water restrictions with the 5 inch limit in bathtubs. But what endeared the King and Queen to the people most was that they refused to escape London while it was being pummeled by the Luftwaffe. The King was adamant about remaining in London with the people and Elizabeth was always by his side as his staunchest supporter, although they had the girls stay at Windsor for much of the time. Elizabeth missed her daughters when she was away from them and most nights the King and Queen would travel the 40 miles to Windsor to enjoy some family time while returning to the capital during the day.
Despite her position as Queen, Elizabeth faced much of the same heartaches as any other. The loss of her beloved mother just before the war was one of her greatest as she was extremely close to her. And although she was one of ten children, it was her younger brother David to whom she was closest and when war broke out she feared for his safety. The King seconded him to America to act as liaison between the president and the United Kingdom. She had also lost one of her brothers in the Great War and an older sister to dihptheria. But her greatest heartaches were the ones she held close in secret. And as the Queen Mother is no longer with us to confirm or deny them, they can only remain speculation. But if they turned out to be true...
The details of the Queen Mother's birthplace is rather vague. Some state she was born in London, others in the family country estate in Waldenbury, Hertfordshire. Were her family keeping her birthplace secret? And if so, why? Or was it just a registration error?
And then there was the past inferred story of David long before he became King and abdicated. It was no secret that David was a selfish, self-centred, arrogant man who thought of no one but himself. But was he capable of something so dishonourable? Even Winston Churchill who at one stage was an avid supporter of King Edward VIII (David) later perished the thought of him leading the nation through a war. Given his ties with Germany at the time, there was much doubt as to whether David could have successfully won the war for Britain and her people, but rather paved the way for Hitler himself to invade the nation.
Despite being thrust into a position that was never meant to be his, King George VI (Bertie) made the best of it and fought for the people to free the nation from attack and lead them to victory. He did that with devotion and support of his Queen and that of his prime minister Churchill. Something they believed David could never have done. And yet, despite everything, David continued to plead the case of his and Wallis' return to England...but Elizabeth would have none of it. She hated Wallis with such a vengeance she referred to her only as "that woman" and her feelings for David were much the same. She feared that should he return to England, he would only try to make demands on Bertie and take over as if he were still King, and Bertie who loved his brother dearly would not stand up to him. Churchill felt much the same...but how to put it to Bertie to keep David and that woman in permanent exile?
We also caught a glimpse of the 13 year old Lilibet meeting the dashing young 18 year old Royal Navy cadet Prince Philip of Greece and her ardent devotion to him from the start. The Queen Mother already had a list of eligible noblemen who would be a far better match for the future Queen of England than someone from Greece, no less. But Lilibet would not be swayed and her insertion of Philip at any given moment she could had the Queen Mother fretting as to where it would all lead.
THE QUEEN'S SECRET portrays Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, in a human light rather than on the pedestal the royals are generally placed. We see her for the person that she is - wife, mother and Queen - who supported her husband through the nation's darkest days and beyond. Hitler himself had named her as "the most dangerous woman in Europe" a formidable woman with her strength of character and yet all we saw of her was the sweet elderly Queen Mum with a gentle smile.
Although fictionalised, THE QUEEN'S SECRET does raise some rather speculative rumours and theories which can neither be confirmed or denied since the Queen Mother passed nearly twenty years ago. But it does give one food for thought. The royals were not exempt from that which common folk find themselves entrenched in. They were just better at hiding it.
I thoroughly enjoyed THE QUEEN'S SECRET and the insight into one of the royal family's most beloved members...maybe not quite as much as "The Royal Nanny" , which I really loved, though still a wonderful read. Speaking of which, I was also thrilled to see "Lala", Bertie's former nanny who lived in a grace and favour house on the Sandringham estate until her death, make an appearance.
Although THE QUEEN'S SECRET is set throughout the second world war, we are privy to the private moments of Elizabeth's past through flashbacks to the Great War, her marriage, her childhood, her parents and David's abdication. Read for yourself Elizabeth's secrets and discover the formidable woman behind the gentle smile.
Perfect for fans of the royal family and historical fiction.
I was saddened to learn that the author Karen Harper passed away 13th April 2020 before this book was published. Her royal historical fiction personalised those who we always admired from afar...or had just read about.
In 1936, when George became the king of England, he had no idea that three years later he and Winston Churchill would be united in defending England from the Germans and Hitler. On the 11th of September 1939 the British Empire declared war on Nazi Germany and both countries were at war yet again. Queen Elizabeth supported her husband during the war years; she visited troops, hospitals, factories all while being a loving mother to her daughters Elizabeth and Margaret. The royal family shared the same hardships as the common people, rationing, water restrictions, Buckingham Palace was damaged during a bombing raid and the royal couple spent most nights at Windsor Castle. Elizabeth was famously quoted as one of the “Most Dangerous Women in Europe” by Hitler himself and we all think of her as the sweet elderly queen mother with a gentle smile.
The details of Queens Elizabeth’s place of birth are rather vague; she was born on the 4th of August 1900 and was her family keeping a secret of exactly where she born and why? Or was it because at the time many children were born at home and paperwork wasn’t as through as it is today and nothing was covered up at all?
The whole story of Edward abdicating the throne and being removed from his Royal duties creates a lot of interest. Were all fascinated by the Royal family and it has to be one of the most famous families in the world. Queen Elizabeth was the matriarch of her family, she supported her husband during WW II, when he died she supported her daughter Elizabeth when she became the Queen of England. Karen Harper uses theories regarding the queen mother’s parentage and her relationship with her husband Bertie in her latest book and some of story seemed a little farfetched to me?
However I did enjoy reading The Queen's Secret, especially about the Queen’s achievements, how she supported her husband, her country during WW II and her relationship with her two daughters Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. I gave the book four stars.
Top reviews from other countries
I think it's fair to say that as an English person, you can tell it was written by an American author.