I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.
I must admit that I have always been something of an Anglophile. There is just something about that island and its people and rich history that fascinate me. I'm also a great admirer of the Queen. It amazes me to think of all that she has seen and done during her reign. The English monarchy was forever changed by the divorce of the Prince and Princess of Wales and Diana's subsequent death. The classic "stiff upper lip" mentality didn't seem to suffice anymore. Kuhn's book provides a sympathetic imaginary portrait of the Queen as she grapples with her own bout of depression.
After feeling low for quite some time, the Queen tries to figure out what would make her happy. She wanders down to feed the horses in the Mews and gets caught in inclement weather. A stable girl lends the Queen her hoodie for protection from the weather which has the suprising and unexpected effect of also offering the Queen a bit of anonymity. When the Queen finds herself outside the castle walls, she decides to make her way to one of her happy places in Scotland. When it is discovered that the Queen is missing, some of her closest staff come together to try and find her before the press is alerted to her absence. What follows is an enlightening and introspective day out for the Queen and her staff that may very well change them all forever.
I thought this was a particulary charming book. It is a quick and easy read and I loved the parallels between the Queen's day out and Shakespeare's Henry V. I thought Kuhn's portrayal of the Queen was both gentle and sympathetic. I also enjoyed the characterizations of the staff and how Kuhn attempted to depict the everyday difficulties these individuals go through in the course of their service to the Crown. While none of the characters are well fleshed out or of any particular depth, they are all quite likeable and entertaining. The Queen, however, takes center stage. As well she should.
BOTTOM LINE: Recommended. A very sweet contemporary tale of the Queen in the tradition of Roman Holiday. While this is not a particularly literary tale, it is charming and pleasant and would make a lovely vacation read.
You won't understand how funny this image is until you read this book but I have to admit this really gave me a chuckle: LINK.