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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Victoria…tyrant or self centered mother?

In Seducing the Princess, by Mary Hart Perry, early descriptions of Princess Beatrice, the youngest unmarried daughter at the mercy of her mother, paint Queen Victoria in a whole different light. Gone is the suffering, stoic queen disarmed and rendered emotionally bereft with the death of her one true love, Prince Albert. That vision is replaced by one of a selfish, self-centered despot when dealing with her family and those who fall short of her standards. I really needed a chart to keep straight Victoria's children, whom they married, her grandchildren etc. It is fascinating to realize how many of Victoria's descendants are threaded throughout the thrones of Europe. We are introduced to other members of the royal family and are given hints of dark days to come especially with the part played in this story by Prince Wilhelm II of Germany as the later Kaiser.  Victoria's pronouncement to `Willy', `your arrogance and willfulness will be your ruin!' gives us a hint of Wilhelm's character, and is interesting in light of the world history to come.Princess Louisa (from The Wild Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria'sDefiant Daughter, which I read immediately after this because I enjoyed Seducing the Princess) and her companion Stephen Byrne (code name the Raven) join the action as the story progresses.
In this historical thriller/romance, dastardly plots and romance stride side by side.
Beatrice is the focus of a larger plot to undermine the British throne by placing a spy and a would be lover in Victoria's entourage.
This fictional interpretation of Beatrice and Henry of Battenberg's love for each other in the face of Victoria's disapproval, amidst the swirl of political intrigue, is fascinating.
I thoroughly enjoyed this work.

A NetGalley ARC

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