Happy Tuesday, Savvy Readers! If you’ve already finished binging the third series of The Crown on Netflix like me, chances are you’re already suffering from royal withdrawal. But never fear! I’ve put together a list of books guaranteed to help you cope with life outside the Palace walls.
The Other Windsor Girl by Georgie Blalock
This week’s 50 Pledge Featured Read, The Other Windsor Girl is a historical debut evoking the style of The Crown, in which the daughter of an impoverished noble is swept into the fame and notoriety of the royal family and Princess Margaret’s fast-living friends when she is appointed as Margaret’s second Lady-in-Waiting. Perfect for royal-watchers in need of some excitement, in The Other Windsor Girl, Georgie Blalock captures the fascinating, fast-living princess and her “set” as seen through the eyes of one of The Honorable Vera Strathmore. Although Vera dreams of living and working in New York, and regaining the happiness she enjoyed before her fiance was killed in the war, a chance meeting with the Princess changes her life forever. Thrust into the center of Margaret’s social and royal life, Vera watches the princess’s love affair with dashing Captain Peter Townsend unfurl. But while Margaret, as a member of the Royal Family, is not free to act on her desires, Vera soon wants the freedom to pursue her own dreams. As time and Princess Margaret’s scandalous behaviour progress, both women will be forced to choose between status, duty, and love…
A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams
Okay, so this one might not be about the Royal Family, but it certainly has enough glitz, glamour, and drama within its pages to keep even the most ardent royal-watcher satisfied. As the hedonism of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, an aviator and a hero of the Great War. Though the battle-scarred Octavian is devoted to his dazzling socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her, Theresa resists. The old world is crumbling, but divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing remains a high-stakes affair. And there is no need: she shares a gentle understanding with Sylvo, the well-bred philanderer to whom she’s already married. That is, until Theresa’s impecunious bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with Miss Sophie Fortescue, the naïve young daughter of a wealthy inventor. Theresa enlists Octavian to check into the background of the reclusive Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the charming ingénue, even as he uncovers a devastating family secret. As a fateful triangle forms, loyalties divide and old crimes are dragged into daylight, drawing Octavian into transgression . . . and Theresa into the jaws of a bittersweet choice.
Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique to fend off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy. James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love. Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and unforgettable wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, Meet Me in Monaco will sweep readers away on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate and second chances…
The Secret Affair by Gill Paul
Love, glamour, secrets. Rome, 1961. As the cameras roll on Cleopatra, the world is transfixed by the love affair emerging between Hollywood’s biggest stars: Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. But on the film set, tensions are running high. The money is running out, and a media storm is brewing over the Taylor-Burton relationship. When historical advisor Diana Bailey starts work on the film, she wants nothing more than to escape from her own troubled marriage and start anew. But as the heady world of Hollywood envelops her, secrets begin to emerge in the cast and crew. Is everything as it seems? And what really hides beneath the glamour of the famous film? An enthralling story of love and passion from the bestselling author of The Secret Wife, set against the stunning backdrop of one of the most iconic Hollywood movies ever made.
Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney
Scandal, secrets, and heartbreak abound in this juicy, modern girl-meets-prince story! For the first time ever, the Weston sisters are at the same boarding school. After an administration scandal at Libby’s all-girls school threatens her chances at a top university, she decides to join Charlotte at posh and picturesque Sussex Park. Social-climbing Charlotte considers it her sisterly duty to bring Libby into her circle: Britain’s young elites, glamorous teens who vacation in Hong Kong and the South of France and are just as comfortable at a polo match as they are at a party. It’s a social circle that just so happens to include handsome seventeen-year-old Prince Edward, heir to Britain’s throne. If there are any rules of sisterhood, “Don’t fall for the same guy” should be one of them. But sometimes chemistry—even love—grows where you least expect it. In the end, there may be a price to pay for romancing the throne…and more than one path to happily ever after.
The Gown by Jennifer Robson
London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, the people of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation’s recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes for a brighter future are tested when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honour: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown. In Toronto, more than half a century later, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother. The Gown, takes readers inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns in history was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, Robson introduces readers to three unforgettable heroines, their points of view alternating and intersecting throughout its pages, whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love.
The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams
The Bahamas, 1941. Newly-widowed Lulu Randolph arrives in the Bahamas to investigate the Governor and his wife for a New York society magazine. After all, American readers have an insatiable appetite for news of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, that glamorous couple whose love affair nearly brought the British monarchy to its knees five years earlier. What more intriguing backdrop for their romance than a wartime Caribbean paradise, a colonial playground for kingpins of ill-gotten empires? Or so Lulu imagines. But as she infiltrates the Duke and Duchess’s social circle, and the powerful cabal that controls the islands’ political and financial affairs, she uncovers evidence that beneath the glitter of Wallis and Edward’s marriage lies an ugly—and even treasonous—reality. In fact, Windsor-era Nassau seethes with spies, financial swindles, and racial tension, and in the middle of it all stands Benedict Thorpe: a scientist of tremendous charm and murky national loyalties. Inevitably, the willful and wounded Lulu falls in love. But when Nassau’s wealthiest man is murdered in one of the most notorious cases of the century, that reeks of royal privilege and Benedict Thorpe disappears without a trace, Lulu embarks on a journey to London and beyond to unpick Thorpe’s complicated family history: a fateful love affair, a wartime tragedy, and a mother from whom all joy is stolen.
American Duchess by Karen Harper
Before Meghan Markle, there was Consuelo Vanderbilt, the original American Duchess. On a cold November day in 1895, a carriage approaches St Thomas Episcopal Church on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. Massive crowds surge forward, awaiting their glimpse of heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt. Just 18, the beautiful bride has not only arrived late, but in tears, yet her marriage to the aloof Duke of Marlborough proceeds. Bullied into the wedding by her indomitable mother, Alva, Consuelo loves another. But a deal was made, trading some of the vast Vanderbilt wealth for a title and prestige, and Consuelo, bred to obey, realizes she must make the best of things. At Blenheim Palace, Consuelo is confronted with an overwhelming list of duties, including producing an “heir and a spare,” but her relationship with the duke quickly disintegrates. Consuelo finds an inner strength, charming everyone from debutantes to diplomats including Winston Churchill, as she fights for women’s suffrage. And when she takes a scandalous leap, can she hope to attain love at last…? From the dawning of the opulent Gilded Age, to the battles of the Second World War, American Duchess is a riveting tale of one woman’s quest to attain independence—at any price.
Well, Savvy Readers, that’s all I have for you today! Which of these royalty-inspired books interests you the most, and how many have you added to your TBR? Comment below or tweet us at @Savvy Reader.
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