Valhalla

Valhalla

By Alan Robert Clark

Published by Fairlight Books

What it’s about?

May of Teck, only daughter of a noble family fallen from grace, has been selected to marry the troublesome Prince Eddy, heir to the British throne. Submitting to the wishes of Queen Victoria and under pressure from her family, young May agrees.

But just as a spark of love and devotion arises between the young couple, Prince Eddy dies of influenza.

To her horror, May discovers she is to be married to the brother, Georgie, instead, a cold and domineering man. But what can she do?

From the author of The Prince of Mirrors comes this gripping account of the life of Queen Mary, one of the most formidable queens of Britain.

What I think:

A life of duty and majesty.

May of Teck is such an interesting woman and makes a great subject for historical fiction.

Despite being a minor and relatively poor royal, May goes on to become Queen.

I loved May’s story. She develops as an intelligent and compassionate woman.

Living beyond their means, the Teck family move to Europe to save money. Taken to live in Florence, May grows up to appreciate art and culture , to read and a speak multiple languages.

As a princess, she should be an eligible bride, but remains unmarried when she returns to England.

Much to her surprise, May finds herself engaged to the heir to the throne, Prince Eddy. Putting her doubts about the role and her future aside to pledge her devotion to her future husband. The writer vividly imagines May’s struggles with her feelings as she falls in love and then mourns when her fiancé tragically dies of influenza.

May sense of duty means she accepts a proposal fromhis brother, George, Duke of York. George loves his quiet life shooting in Norfolk. Cold and distant, Mary struggles to find common ground with her new husband and a role in the Royal Family.

One of the most striking parts of May’s story is her relationship with her children. Securing the royal succession is the one thing that is expected of her. May suffers from post-natal depression and struggles to bond with her sons.

This is particularly poignant her eldest son, the future Edward VIII, abdicates. The epilogue to the book sees him reflecting on their relationship and returning for his mother’s funeral.

I really enjoyed this book. May of Teck is a member of the Royal Family that i didn’t know much about. And this book has inspired me to find out more.

My only criticism is the title of the book which doesn’t seem particularly relevant. I felt like it was shoehorned in at the end. I also think the cover image undersells the book. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but having read some great historical fiction with gorgeous covers recently I think this could definitely be more appealing.

This is a great and a fascinating recreation of the early life of Queen Mary. A lot of research has gone into the book and it is a great read.

Thank you to Netgalley for the digital copy in return for an honest review.

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