A rebel princess..

With a cigarette in one hand and whiskey in the other, royal rebel Princess Margaret dazzles with her cutting-edge fashion sense and biting quips. The people love her, the paparazzi stalk her, and she sparkles in the company of her glittering entourage of wealthy young aristocrats known as the Margaret Set. But her outrageous lifestyle conflicts with her place as Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister. Can she be a dutiful princess while still enchanting the world on her own terms?

A noblewoman’s dreams…

A chance meeting with the Princess changes the life of the Honorable Vera Strathmore forever. Discreet and genuinely kind, Vera gains Princess Margaret’s confidence and the privileged position of lady-in-waiting. Yet as Vera watches the Princess’s ill-fated love affair with dashing Captain Peter Townsend unfurl, she longs for a life outside the captivating orbit of royal society.

An unexpected destiny…

But while Princess Margaret, as a member of the Royal Family, is not free to act on her desires, Vera could have 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 and love.’

Sigh. I had such high hopes for this novel, I really did. I requested it as a Christmas gift, and was so excited when I got it. I eagerly dove in, and I really expected to love it. Sadly…this was not the case.

It began well enough, introducing us to the Honorable Vera Strathmore, a young, single lady, who not long ago lost the man she was going to marry, in the war. A lady of modest means, she writes novels under a pen name, lusty romance novels about well to do men and dignified ladies, and she saves the small income she makes from that, in an effort to one day afford to move to New York.

She’s actually a fine character – until she meets Princess Margaret. This is where the book starts to go downhill, in my opinion. She becomes so hard to like then – shallow, vain, and weak-willed, willing to give up her passions in order to maintain her ‘status’. It was frustrating to read, to be honest.

Princess Margaret is portrayed as she so often is in media and literature – hot headed, demanding, quite cutting, but also caring and loving when it came to her family. There’s not much to say about her character in the book, she’s exactly how you would expect her to be.

I just found the book to be poorly written overall – there were far too many references to ‘the royal’ something, e.g. ‘the royal breasts’ or ‘the royal temper’ etc etc – after a while, I started to dread reading those words, because they were used too often, and it was so unnecessary – the novel is about a royal princess, the clue is in the name, we don’t need to be reminded every few paragraphs! Also, I’m surprised Vera had a ring finger remaining on her left hand, because she rubbed her ‘bare’ finger so often in the book that she’d surely have worn a hole in it in reality. It was so repetitive, it became grating.

It did get the main events of Princess Margaret’s life in – her broken relationship with Peter Townsend and how upsetting that was for her, and her later marriage, and divorce from Antony Armstrong-Jones. It also portrayed how difficult she found it being out of the limelight in favour of her elder sister, and how hard it was for her to live by the rules set down for her by everyone else. I think, had the novel purely focused on Margaret, and left out the Vera character, it would have been a far stronger novel – based on a real person, instead of being told from a fictional person’s point of view.

However, like I always say when I don’t like a book – it is just my personal opinion. I’m sure there are people out there who love this book, it just wasn’t for me, and I wouldn’t recommend it.

I rate ‘The Other Windsor Girl’ 2 out of 5 stars.


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