by William Kuhn
First sentence: “Several years ago, on a dark afternoon in December, Her Magesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, and Her Other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth of Nations, Defender of Faith, Duchess of Edinbugh, Countess of Merioneth, Baroness Greenwich, Duke of Lancaster, Lord of Mann, Duke of Normandy sat at her desk, frowning at a computer screen..”
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Content: There’s a few f-bombs (maybe a half dozen?). But other than that, it’s pretty clean. It’s in the adult fiction section of the bookstore.
You would think, from the title and first sentence, that this is a story about Queen Elizabeth and you would be right. She is most definitely a character. However, I’m not entirely sure she’s the main character, or rather just a plot device. The basic plot is this: The Queen gets down one December day, and then goes missing. Six people — her lady in waiting, Lady Anne; her dresser, Shirley; her butler, William; a member of her security team, Luke; an employee at the Mews, the horse stables, Rebecca; and an employee of the shop where The Queen gets her cheese, Rajiv — all, for various reasons, go looking for her. It’s much less about The Queen and the reasons she left than it is about the politics of the royal household, and the lives of those looking for her.
Which isn’t to say it was bad. It wasn’t. But it wasn’t as good as I had hoped, either. The parts with The Queen out and wandering around, connecting anonymously with people were really intriguing and quite fun. The rest of it — the backstories, the drama, the relationship building — not so much. There were several times when I considered bailing on this — it just took way too long to get going — but I didn’t because it was for book group. I think I just wanted it to be more… fun. And much less drama-y.
I just wasn’t thrilled with it in the end.