Popsugar Reading Challenge 2020: Book 5

Prompt: A book recommended by your favourite blog, blog, podcast or online book club

One of my favourite online groups is the Book Connectors group on Facebook. Lots of writers, reviewers. readers and bloggers chatting about books and sharing successes. Lots of people post links to reviews of upcoming books and one of them was for The Other Windsor Girl by Georgie Blalock . The review was posted in November 2019 with the book being published in the UK in January. I immediately loved the title and the cover, the review was great and I pre ordered a copy. It arrived last week and I read it straight away. The original review by The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog is here and I am so glad I spotted this on my news feed.

What it’s about?

The Honorable Lady Vera Strathmore has an aristocratic family and friends in high places, but her fiance has been killed in the war and the family’s finances are depleted. She has aspirations of moving to New York and becoming a writer – a dream which her very traditional upper-class family would absolutely forbid. To earn some money of her own, she secretly writes romance novels under a pseudonym, Mrs Lavish and saves her advances for her future American adventure.

Princess Margaret is leading “The Margaret Set” a group of glamorous, young aristocrats partying in London. The Princess is bored. At 19, she is beautiful, popular and spoiled. She is also lonely and very much aware that her newly married sister, Princess Elizabeth, is destined to be Queen and that as the younger sister she is just “the spare.”

A fan of Mrs Lavish’s romances, Margaret is introduced to Vera and before long Vera is a part of the set and appointed Lady-in-Waiting. Vera is then faced with the choice of serving the Crown or chasing her own dreams.

What I think:

This is my kind of book!

Lots of interesting historical details, Blalock vividly recreates the glamour of the 1940s-early 1950s wealthy aristocratic world that is stark contrast to the post-war austerity Britain.

At first Vera struggles to bridge these two world. Her birth gives her access to a world she simply cannot afford to be part of. It’s easy to see how she becomes infatuated with the excitement and fun that the Margaret Set adds to her life.

Her relationship with Margaret is fascinating. At some points they seem to be genuinely friends. Vera is witness to some of Margaret’s most intimate moments – especially her scandalous romance with Captain Townsend. At other points Vera is little more than a servant.

Vera dedicates part of her life to serving Margaret and the writer shows both the benefits and disadvantages of this relationship.

Margaret is a fascinating character. By writing the book from Vera’s perspective the writer allows us to see both the good and bad in Margaret.

Spoiled and indulged she is both someone to dislike and to pity. Despite the luxury in which she lives, her lack of purpose and loneliness, the restrictions placed on her and her treatment of and by the press show the complexity of life for the Royal family. Something that the current generation of British Royalty are still juggling.

I really enjoyed this book and anyone fascinated with modern royalty will definitely enjoy it. It’s definitely inspired me to read Lady Anne Glenconner’s autobiography and see how true to life the fictional account is.

The Other Windsor Girl is available from:

Waterstones: click here

Amazon.co.uk: click here

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