The Queen’s Secret: A Novel of England’s World War II Queen

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Adolf Hitler once called Queen Elizabeth (the current queen’s mother) “the most dangerous woman in Europe” for her effect on English morale. Karen Harper’s new novel shows that side of her, but also a softer side. Readers get to see the queen awkward around her husband, affectionate with her children, and vulnerable. It’s a touching portrayal that brings humanity to a woman who could easily be nothing more than coolly unflappable and queenly.

My enjoyment of the book was somewhat marred by the narration at times going too far in the opposite direction. Elizabeth’s bemoaning her weight as the result of too many “chocs” and “drinky poos” felt rather flippant, especially given the oncoming war. Unless something happened which immediately affected her or London, the war felt very far away, despite the book spanning the full length, from the Phoney War at the beginning to V-E Day. The titular secret at times felt overblown.

What you get out of The Queen’s Secret depends a great deal on what you look for in it. If you want a serious novel about the home front, you’ll be disappointed. If you want a breezier novel that humanizes an often unknown queen, you’ll enjoy it a great deal.

Reviewed By:

Author Karen Harper
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 384 pages
Publisher William Morrow Paperbacks
Publish Date 5/19/2020
ISBN 9780062885487 Buy this Book
Issue September 2020
Category Historical Fiction


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