Cover Image: The Royal Correspondent

The Royal Correspondent

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Member Reviews

This book reminded me of Daphne duMaurier's REBECCA. I think this title comes to mind because the reader is interested in the life of the characters, especially Blaise Hill - the Royal Correspondent. You don't realize there is / will be a mystery within the story until it is upon you.

I was intrigued with the author's note telling the character of Blaise was based on the experiences of her father. She wanted to see how the story would be with a female protagonist. I think she did an excellent job.
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Earlier this summer I watched the short-lived Amazon series Good Girls Revolt based on the book by the same name by Lynn Povich. It's about women working at Newsweek in the 1960s. The series ended just as it was getting good and it left me wanting to know more. So I was excited to see The Royal Correspondent by Alexandra Joel.

Also inspired by real events, it wasn't just the newspaper angle that drew me to the book. I'm a sucker for a good espionage book - particularly Cold War-era espionage. Blaise Hill is a young Australian woman from a poor family. Her sister contracted polio and her constant care is another strain on the family. Blaise dreams of being a hard-nosed newspaper reporter and will take any job that can put her on the path of fulfilling her dream. So when offered the position of "copy boy" she jumps at it. She quickly proves herself as an able journalist but instead of landing on the crime beat she is assigned to the "women's pages". What does she know of fashion and makeup? She owns two skirts and two blouses and no cosmetics. But as with everything she strives to learn everything she can to about the newspaper business and she finds herself on an adventure she never expected.

Blaise is a very capable person and she's willing to take big risks in hopes of reaping big rewards. Sometimes they work out and sometimes she crashes and burns. I like that she didn't let her failures keep her down and viewed them just as temporary detours to her true goal.

She is also a bit naive and vulnerable - I imagine many women in the 1960s were the same as they had not been afforded the experiences of their male counterparts and were forging a new path. She felt like a real person with strengths and weaknesses.

I strongly disliked Charles - he's manipulative and smug. I worried that Blaise's naivety would blind her to his true nature. His rank in society and financial stability were strong "heady" draws for women in Blaise's position. We know many women endured unhappy and often abusive marriages because of those lures.

When I started the audiobook I was slightly confused. I had forgotten that Blaise was Australian and with the English setting of the opening scene I was thrown by the accent. I was soon reminded of Australian origins and the accent made much more sense. Caroline Lee does an excellent job with the various accents - both Australian and British. I had no trouble with which character was speaking and the plot is easy enough to follow while listening to the audiobook.

While the espionage plot was a minor storyline, I still enjoyed the story and Blaise is a character that you can't help root for and want to see succeed.

My review is published at Girl Who Reads -
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I had a great time reading this historical fiction book! I truly loved Blais’ story and the adventures she had. I listened to the audiobook and I really enjoyed that.
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This book had SO MUCH potential! I thoroughly enjoyed the time period and the premise, and I loved how independent and opinionated Blaze was. I also liked the love triangle. However the story just seemed to drag for me, was predictable, and it just seemed to lack something that I can't put my finger on. With that being said, I do hope that people enjoy it better than I did!
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3.5 stars rounded up. 
I listened to the audiobook version of this novel. I liked it. However, it started very slowly and I began to get bored. The setting and situation were interesting, but nothing was happening to draw me into the story. Before I decided to give up or skip the the last few chapters, I played the story at 2.5x speed and listened to it while sewing. Then the story started to move along and capture my interest. I literally had to speed up the recording and dedicate a significant block of time to this book. Once I did, I enjoyed the story. 
In addition to the challenges the main character faced in her career as a journalist ca. 1960, the novel included other plots including a mystery and a couple of romances. The mystery and Cold War intrigue became engrossing. The main character's two romances were somewhat predictable, but they served a greater purpose in the mystery storyline. 
Did anyone really name a female kid Blaise in 1940? I know a unique name is supposed to make the character more interesting, but this did not ring true for me. 
Overall, I liked the book. I think it was worth the investment I made in getting to the proverbial "good part". 
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this audiobook.
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The narrator of The Royal Correspondent did a fabulous job! I loved this story and the narrator really enhanced it.
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Set in Sydney and London on the cusp of the Swinging '60s, Joel sets the scene for a vivid picture of the birth of women's liberation, the royal family,  racism/classism, and the burgeoning Profumo scandal. It's the story of Balise Hill's metamorphosis from a scrappy Sydney lower class teen who manages to become an accomplished London reporter.
Joel manages to interweave 'very accurate details of the tottering Macmillan government, the threat of the Cold War, and the concern of the British/Soviet spy network. into the story.   All this with Mary Quant, the Royal Court, the marriage of Princess Margaret, the misogyny of the newsrooms, and the class-conscious  Brits... and if that's enough an unexpected villain and a torrid love affair.
All I can what's not to like?
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I loved the Royal Correspondent by Alexandra Joel. I was sad when I was done. I loved this book so much that I have but it down for the store book club when it comes out. GREAT BOOK!!!!!
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