An Indiscreet Princess
By Georgie Blalock
Today I am on the blog tour for a historical fiction book that takes facts of a time and princess from historical times and fictionalises it, but gives some detail about the rebellious and artistically talented daughter of Queen Victoria – Princess Louise. How could I pass up such a book, when there’s my namesake right there? Except, I have no blue blood that I am aware of running through my veins, but I do have a care for and interest in the Royal family.
Discover more about the princess in the blurb and my thoughts of the book in my review. I also thank RandomTTours, Compulsive Readers and Harper Collins UK for the invite to review and a copy of the book.
Before Princess Margaret, before Duchess Meghan, there was Princess Louise: royal rebel.
As the fourth daughter of the perpetually in-mourning Queen Victoria, Princess Louise’s life is more a gilded prison than a fairy tale. Expected to sit quietly next to her mother with down-cast eyes, Louise vows to escape the stultifying royal court. Blessed with beauty, artistic talent, and a common touch, she creates a life outside the walled-in existence of the palace grounds by attending the National Art Training School—where she shockingly learns to sculpt nude models while falling passionately in love with famed sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm.
But even as Louise cultivates a life outside the palace, she is constantly reminded that even royal rebels must heed the call of duty—and for a princess that means marriage. Refusing to leave England, she agrees to a match with the Duke of Argyll, and although her heart belongs to another, she is determined to act out her public role perfectly, even if her private life teeters on the brink of scandal. But when a near fatal accident forces Louise back under her mother’s iron rule, she realizes she must choose: give in to the grief of lost love or find the strength to fight for her unconventional life.
There have often been royals who have a rebellious side and Princess Louise was, as well as being a bit flighty when younger. To put her life in even more context of time, she also lived at the same time as Bertie, someone perhaps a bit more known than she.
She, interestingly had a love of art, whilst in a way so did Queen Victoria enjoy the arts, but preferring Mr Browning and his writings, rather than the National Art Training School and all that’s as taught there, which was an interest of Princess Louise, who needs to convince the Queen to let her go and then let her stay for another term, urged by her professor who was constructing a memorial for Lord Holland in Holland Park. This again adds context as well as shows her path in life that she is going down.
What is also interesting is how far in history, Balmoral goes as it is mentioned here in this book. The novel has interesting bits of places that play a role in both today’s society and monarchy and of yesteryear. It gives it another hook, especially since it crosses borders and shows the monarchy, even way back then was for all of the UK, as it is now.
There’s the question of romance,marriage and a wedding and all her emotions as well as the UK coming together, but with Princess Louise’s feelings not being quite as you’d expect from a marriage, nor her actions, partly this is because of the times, partly her personality and her desires being different from the Crown.
It is clear to see that Princess Louise does try to balance her passion for art and her beliefs and her duties, but also that of Queen Victoria trying to steer her away from scandal. This book shows appreciation and royals doing their best, especially that of the Queen and eventually an appreciation of the senior royals and what it means to have the crown. It has a surprisingly good and poignant ending.
The book certainly glides along and the author certainly found a story to tell.