Monday, December 3, 2012

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn

I had today's review half-written when I picked up Mrs. Queen Takes the Train last week. I'd only planned to flip through and get a sense of the writing, but instead I found myself giggling, out loud, in the staff room on my lunch break. I did not want to put this book down.

This is Mr. Kuhn's first novel; his previous work has been in biography. This was mostly to his benefit, but there were times when the story did not flow as a novel should. While his research of and familiarity with the history of England's royal family and household helped to create believable characters, occasionally the balance tipped from entertaining to educational.

The characters and their interactions are what make this book work. I was instantly charmed by The Queen and found her depression understandable. At first I was annoyed when the narrative shifted to a different perspective, mostly because it wasn't always obvious that the perspective had shifted, but by the end of the book I wanted to know more about all these people living and working in the background of royalty's glamor.

Many of the reviews suggest that fans of Downton Abbey or The King's Speech will enjoy this book, and speaking as a fan, I'd say they are correct. It's a fairly gentle and overall optimistic peak behind the scenes of the lives of the powerful.

Oh! And if you're looking for more books and movies about the British Royals, check out our post from the Royal Wedding. You might also enjoy this recent photo set of The Queen meeting a soldier in full camouflage and a very large horse.



  1. Sarah, Thank you so much for this thoughtful review. I think you've captured precisely some of the challenges of moving from history and biography to fiction. I love having readers like you. Bill

  2. Thank you for writing such an enjoyable book! I loved the parts written from The Queen's perspective!