In the Shadow of a Queen
by Heather B. Moore
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add firstname.lastname@example.org as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 04 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 18 Oct 2022
Shadow Mountain Publishing, Shadow Mountain
As a young woman, Princess Louise is considered the most beautiful and talented daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She is also strong-willed and resists following the queen’s rigid rules and strict protocols for a princess.
After her father’s untimely death, Louise’s life is upended by the inconsolable grief of her mother and the rippling effect that rocks the British Empire. Captive to the queen’s overwhelming mourning, Louise is forbidden to leave her mother’s tight circle of control, attend balls, or have any kind of relationship outside the royal family. She is relegated to the position of personal secretary to her mother—the same position each of her sisters held until they were married.
Already an accomplished painter, Louise risks the queen’s wrath by exploring the art of sculpting, an activity viewed as unbefitting a woman. When Louise involves herself in the day’s political matters without Queen Victoria’s approval, including championing the career of a female doctor and communicating with suffragettes, the queen lays down the law to stop her and devotes her full energy and resources to finding an acceptable match for her defiant daughter.
In the Shadow of a Queen is the story of an epic battle of wills between two women: a daughter determined to forge her own life beyond the shadow of her mother, and a queen resolved to keep the Crown’s reputation unsullied no matter the cost.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 38 members
I have rated this book 4.5 stars and deducted a half star for the use of Ms. in the story. That title was not in existence during that time period. Other than that this is a wonderful book about Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria. I knew nothing about her and now want to learn more. The author does a wonderful job of allowing the reader to really get to not only know Louise but learn about the protocols of having to live your life as a royal. A book not to be missed. Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an e-arc in exchange for my honest opinion.
I'll fess up, I'm a Tudor fanatic. However, after reading this book, which I couldn't put down, Queen Victoria and her family have taken over. The compassion I had for Princess Louise was overwhelming. It was well written and not too confusing with all the similar names. I will be looking for similar books. I'm hooked, so thank you Heather.
This review was given freely with no bias.
In the Shadow of a Queen by Heather B. Moore is an excellent historical fiction that highlights Princess Louise, one of Queen Victoria’s daughters. I loved it!
I have read several books by Ms. Moore, and have enjoyed all thus far. I am also a huge fan of anything Queen Victoria, so I loved this book that focuses on one of her daughters, Louise.
I loved the way the author blended historical details and known facts/events with a fictional narrative. It felt as if it all just fit perfectly and we were able to peer into Windsor through a window.
It was engaging, entertaining, and I really enjoyed reading it.
I also enjoyed the notes of historical detail and inspiration by the author at the beginning.
Thank you NG and Shadow Mountain Publishing for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.
I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 10/4/22.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Queen Victoria's daughter, Louise. Apart from learning in detail about her personal life and her development as an artist, I learned a lot about being a daughter of Queen Victoria's, and this was definitely no easy task! Though Victoria was a doting mother, she also was dominating, having a say in most decisions if not all! Had she been always so controlling, or did the death of her darling Albert lead to this ? Reading about Louise, I kept wondering how her life would have like when her father had lived younger... Louise proved to be a woman with modern ideas. Will she be able to influence her mother, starting with her art? A very interesting (marriage, women's rights and role in society, politics,) informative and compelling read!
I received a digital ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review! Thank you so much.
I read this book because I am a huge fan of HB Moore's historical fiction. She is such an expert at weaving fact and fiction. This is probably the first book that I didn't really care for. I felt a little lost at times. The chapter quotes from actual letters rarely pertained to the 'going ons' in the chapter and were sometimes out of date and that confused me. I also felt like the book covered so much time. For a while, we would read about Louise day to day activities and then suddenly we jump a year. I was confused about her attending the public academy to study sculpturing and then there isn't much mention to how it ends- did she just stop? I was also a little confused by the lack of narrative about her bout with meningitis when it is revealed during the epilogue that this is probably what caused her to not be able to bear children. So it was actually quite serious! There was a bit a history that I was unfamiliar with so I did learn a lot about that I had to remind myself many times that I was reading about the Queen of England and her family! You feel like you are just reading about any family which is both startling and strangely rewarding. Overall, if you enjoy English history and want to know more about the Victoria's daughter Louise- this is a great read!
I have been trying to read more historical fiction and broaden my horizons, so I was excited to try out this book. In the Shadow of a Queen was a fascinating book about Princess Lousie, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s daughter, by Heather B Moore.
This book was really interesting to read and learn more about Princess Lousie. I had actually never read or seen anything about her so it was really cool to read. Princess Louise was trying to balance being herself and being a princess. This book takes us through many movements in Princess Lousie’s life, the death of her father, her sister’s marriages, starting school, and even getting married herself are some of the things that this book takes us through.
I really enjoyed the way this book was written, it was easy to read and understand. It did drag a bit more for me but that could be because I am just slowly getting into historical fiction. However I feel as if I learned a lot about Princess Louise, her family, and the time that she lived in. The Princess was truly amazing to read about, she stood firm in her ideas and beliefs and did many great things.
In the Shadow of a Queen was a good book. I would recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction or those who are interested in learning more about Princess Louise. It displays a world that seems so far away and different and yet it shows how these people were just human too.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.
I absolutely loved this story. Louise was such a strong woman even in her younger years she was way ahead of her time. I really enjoyed following her growing up and all her family dynamics. Her relationship with John was very special. Being a Campbell I especially enjoyed reading about my Scottish heritage. This a very sweet, clean romance.
Interesting historical fiction about one of Queen Victoria's daughters, Louise. I was not at all familiar with her, and she was a fascinating and ahead-of-her-time woman. I enjoyed learning about her and other aspects of life under Queen Victoria.
hank you to NetGalley and Heather B. Moore for providing me with a free digital ARC of In the Shadow of a Queen.
Queen Victoria has always fascinated me. She ruled for a long time; she loved her husband Prince Albert and she had many children.
This book follows Queen Victoria’s daughter, Louise. She’s the fourth child. It begins with her at age 13.
I enjoyed the real letters at the beginning of the chapters. I always love when historical nonfiction elements are added to historical fiction.
There were a lot of characters. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had nine children. Unfortunately, Prince Albert passes away fairly quickly in the story.
I thought the book was well researched, even though I’m sure some liberties were taken when it came to the actual dialogue. There was great attention to detail.
It was interesting Louise wasn’t in a rush to get married. I thought as a princess, she would be matched with a future husband fairly quickly after she turned marrying age. It seemed like she didn’t have many options.
Some of the book was a bit dry. To be honest, I definitely thought the love interest would show up sooner and I thought there would be a bit more chemistry between him and Louise. Things picked up more after around chapter 28 and the story was a lot more interesting. I just wasn’t into her teenage years as much. It seemed like there wasn’t a real feel for her character until she was older. I did really admire that she made a love match instead of marrying the first Royal she saw.
Overall, the book was well written and informative. It had a lot of historical background in Louise’s life. However, I wasn’t as invested in the story. It was a bit dry for my taste and I wasn’t in the mood to read it at times. I think it was just lacking something for me. I would’ve liked to see more about her married life and less about her teen years. I have other books by Heather B Moore, so I’ll definitely read more of her work.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys English Royal stories.
Love this book. I love anything about Queen Victoria. It does drag a little at times, especially during the morning period for Albert. I understand the queen mourned for him for a long time but you have to move things along in a book or you lose the reader's interest. Overall, I liked it.
Heather Moore has done it again, This was stunning! It was well-paced and captivating from start to finish. It was both intriguing and fascinating. This is one I'll return to again and again. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.
Not being acquainted with historical novels it was with an open mind that I felt it long overdue that I corrected this oversight. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this account Princess Louise’s life was both extremely interesting and concisely written, without overloading the reader unnecessary detail. Princess Louise came across as a charming, free-spirited young lady, bound by the traditions of her time. The love she shared with her husband, John Campbell, was insurmountable and very much in keeping with modern times. The author’s in-depth research has produced a remarkable novel, particularly with regards to the disharmony within the Royal family at times of war.
My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for this advance copy.
Princess Louise was a young girl when her father, Prince Albert died. Her mother, Queen Victoria, remained in mourning the rest of her life. This book details how the family survived his death as well as surviving the Queen's life long mourning of her husband, Prince Albert. In all there were 9 children whose lives we learned about in this novel, but only one really stood out and that was Princess Louise. A gifted talent who struggled with the will and domination of her mother. Not to say she was the only one whose relationship with Queen Victoria, however, while the other siblings literally branched out to become "royalty" in other countries, Louise certainly was much more than a Princess waiting for her Prince. I enjoyed this book immensely and wish to thank Ms. Moore for her research and her skill as an author. My thanks to NetGalley for this book in exchange for an honest review.
In the Shadow of a Queen is my new favorite book written by the talented Heather B. Moore. I loved learning more about Louise and the author's vision of her. Five stars.
This book was fantastic! This is a historical fiction piece, looking a the life of Princess Louise, Queen Victoria's daughter. Louise is a few spirit and wants to be out from under her mother's shadow. However, after the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria tightens her reigns over her children. Victoria is doing her best to keep the Crown looking good to the public and Louise simply wants to create her own life and Do what she desires to do. I enjoyed getting this glimpse into the lives of royalty. Heather Moore is a fantastic author and this book did not disappoint! It is well written, easy to read, and entertaining.
Firstly I just want to say that the cover is gorgeous and when I rate something 3.5 that means I enjoyed it, I'm just unnecessarily harsh, for literally no reason. Alright, now that that's out of the way, let's talk about In the Shadow Of A Queen by Heather B. Moore. In the Shadow of A Queen is about Queen Victoria's fourth daughter Princess Louise, it follows her story from when she was a child (I forgot if it was 11 or maybe 13) till when she is a 23 year old married women.
Honeslty is knew nothing about Queen Victoria's kids so was going into this blind, and can I just say Princess Louise was lowkey giving girl boss energy, like she was sculptor because you know she wanted to, she went to an art school even though that was 'below' royals, she married a peasant (gasp) and she founded this science and art school for impoverished girls. Honestly idk how I've never heard of her, but good for her.
Anyway back to the book, I thought the book was slow but I actually really liked the part where she was hunting for a husband. It was so funny to me because it was this big deal and like 30% of the book (maybe more), the guys were such characters (by that I mean they were given one personality trait, like being into racehorses and that was it lol). And even though at my core I am a hater, I think Louise and the guy she picked were kinda cute, until they got to together then it was too sappy for me. The writing didn't do for me but I had no problems with it either. it did the job of telling the story.
To conclude, I enjoyed learning a bit more about English history and Princess Louise, so maybe check this out if you've been craving a historical fiction, it was a fun time.
I just thoroughly loved reading In the Shadow of a Queen. Louise is Queen Victoria’s 6th child. The queen had nine children. The paparazzi are always following the royalty in England and this book felt like you had the inside news on them. I loved all the details of royal life including how sheltered they were. Louise tries to break the mold by wanting to learn how to sculpt which in those days was seen as a male, not female, activity. Queen Victoria over the years sees her daughters skill and does allow her to eventually pursue her desires. Louise also breaks the mold when it comes to getting married. There are not many eligible royals at the time Louise comes of age . This becomes quite a dilemma for both her and Queen Victoria. The novel is very cleverly written including many true events on how she eventually finds a spouse. It is a very fun read about a princess who finds her way in life. I would highly recommend this book to anyone! I just loved it!!!
So much is known of Queen Victoria but there isn’t much interest in her children most of whom were married off to various monarchies all over Europe. Naturally I wanted to read In the Shadow of a Queen to learn more about Queen Victoria’s children. After the unfortunate death of her father Prince Albert Princess Louise the sixth child and fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert is thrust into a role of a lifetime. She becomes personal secretary to her overbearing mother and sequestered to a life of subservience to the Queen. This book was bit slow to start but as we delve deeper into her life, love and marriage we find she was more than royal she was talented and courageous. She had a pension for the arts, women’s rights and was clearly ahead of her time. I enjoyed this book but wished it would have delved specifically into the causes, charities and personal contributions of Princess Louise rather than focusing so much on her upbringing, and engagement.
Loved this book. Well researched historical fiction. Especially loved all the time and effort the author put into the Chapter Notes at the end of the book. In the Shadow of the Queen is based on Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Louise (sixth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert born in 1848).
Evidently Queen Victoria kept quite a journal and in addition there were many letters sent to/from Princess Louise. So fascinating being a young woman assisting the queen and the efforts that went into finding a husband for Princess Louise. Loved having this unique glimpse into the royal world of this by-gone era.
Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to review In the Shadow Of the Queen in exchange for an honest review, and to the author Heather B. Moore and to the publisher Shadow Mountain Publishing. Publication Date is Oct 4, 2022.
Also thank you to NetGalley for introducing me to Heather B. Moore. I also highly recommend The Slow March of Light by this author.
In the Shadow of A Queen was an addicting read. It's rightly titled in the shadow of a Queen because I haven't heard anything about Louise ( One of Queen Victoria's Younger Children.) I really appreciated the detailed research that Heath B. Moore does in her books. ( Having read a book of hers before.)
Louise Daughter of Queen Victoria her passion is sculpting and artistic mediums. Shes very vocal and opinonated and not a shy wallflower. Louise life was restricted due to her father dying when she was young. When all her siblings were getting married off to poltical advatages she wasn't really thought about as much. She was called Loosy. I was hooked from page one the book was an addicting read it got so intense and I just couldn't stop even though I had to keep setting it aside. I appreciate the chance of being contacted to read this book!
Please check this book out October 4 2022 and I received a chance to review this arc in exchange for an honest review.
IN THE SHADOW OF A QUEEN is a beautifully written historical novel in which HEATHER B MOORE gives us insight into the lives of Queen Victoria and her children, especally her fourth daughter Princess Louise. We see the close family relationships and the protective love of a mother who wants the best for her children, whilst expecting them to uphold the monarchy and her very strict rules.
We follow Louise’s life from childhood, seeing her pain at the death of her beloved father and the ongoing pain caused by her mother’s grief and long years of mourning.
Louise is an artist whose main passion is sculpture, and we see how she gradually obtains permission from her mother to pursue this gift. She is also passionate about women’s rights and avidly follows politics, although these interessts are frowned upon by the,queen. In fact she can do noting without the queen’s permission.
I like to see how Louise honours Queen Victoria as her queen and how she loves her mother and her siblings, in spite of the criticism that comes from all sides.
The author has obviously done a great deal of research, but this book is definitely not merely an historical account. We are taken right into life at that time and get to understand the characters and their feelings. I highly recommend In the Shadow of a Queen as a most enjoyable read.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Shadow Mountain Publishing The opinions in this review are completey my own.
Such an interesting character and a well written story. I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction story about a little-known (to me at least) daughter of Queen Victoria. The author clearly did her research and the story was laid out in an interesting and entertaining manner.
In the story Princess Louise is one of the youngest daughters of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. In a time when marriage matches among royalty is about politics and not romance, Princess Louise is prepared to do her duty. But while she admires her mother and is loyal to the crown, she is also a strong-willed woman determined to live her own life. The path Princess Louise takes is a journey worth reading about.
This novel would appeal to those who enjoy historical fiction, reading about royalty, and women’s rights. I highly recommend.
Just like the author Heather B Moore, my interest in the Royal family began in the 1980s...when Diana came on the scene. I bought a huge book on the Royal family and slowly worked my way back in history.
While Queen Victoria has been portrayed in modern movies and dramas, it was a pleasure to explore a small timeframe in the life of her daughter Louise....a forward thinking artistic young lady, restricted by her royal heritage, austre mother and expectations of women in this era. Louise was ahead of her time in championing woman's rights as the suffragette movement establishes itself.
"In the Shadow of a Queen" is a very apt title. Louise is trying to make her own path in life, focussing on her artistic talents including sculpting. But her mother is bogged down by her dedication to royal protocol and her depression caused by losing her husband Albert so young. In the same way as her older sisters, Louise is forbidden to leave her mother's side....becoming her private secrery. Louise is forced to find ways to obey her mother's wishes, but also enable her own wishes come true.
Heather effortlessly weaves history with fiction in a fascinating read I loved. Such a well researched and seamlessly fictionalised narrative - I truly believed I knew Louise so well.
"In the Shadow of a Queen is the story of a battle of wills between two women: a daughter determined to forge her own life beyond the shadow of her mother, and a queen resolved to keep the Crown’s reputation unsullied no matter the cost"
Thanks to NetGalley, Shadowmountain Publishing and Heather B Moore for my copy of this book.
I enjoyed this stunning history of Queen Victorias most interesting daughter. It was interesting to follow her from pre-teen years throughout her life and the husband hunt was my favorite part. Learning about Queen Victoria was equally fascinating.
Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of the book. All opinions stages are my own.
I have always been interested in royalty, and I find Queen Victoria fascinating. I was so excited to read this book and learn more about her daughter, Louise.
I went into this book knowing nothing about Louise, but I came away with a lot of admiration for her! I love that she found ways to be herself despite the royal expectations. I was so grateful that she was able to marry for love. Her loyalty to her family is admirable - I definitely would have struggled with the demands!
I could tell that Heather B. Moore really worked hard to take all the information available on these historical figures and fill in their stories. I loved the quotes from letters at the beginning of each chapter.
I definitely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys the Victorian era!
Thank you to NetGalley, Shadow Mountain Publishing, and Heather B. Moore for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinions.
Fantastic book. Well researched, well written, and interesting to read. I was surprised the author didn't touch upon or even mention Princess Louise's supposed illegitimate child (never proven) or her husband's homosexuality. Overall, a very enjoyable book. Louise was always my favorite of Victoria and Albert's children. I loved her spark of life and stubborness.
Strong writing from an experienced author. With a good plot and well crafted characters, this has the elements of a good historical tale that most fans of the genre will likely enjoy. Recommended.
Thanks very much for the free ARC for review!!
This story is a fictionalized account of Queen Victoria's fourth daughter, Princess Louise. Louise is a headstrong, independent-thinking, liberal-minded "modern" young woman who longs to go to art school to perfect her sculptures.
Stars: This book is obviously well-researched. Even though I've read a lot about Victoria and her family, there was still new information I hadn't come across before. I enjoyed learning about Louise's journey to finding a husband. This was an easy, quick and enjoyable read.
Wishes: The book seemed like two stories: the first being Louise's childhood and longing to do art and the second being her challenges to marriage and the subsequent happy partnership she was able to create. I wish the book had continued and tied together her plans for women's rights along with her supportive marriage. It seemed to end abruptly.
I have read many books and articles about Queen Victoria herself, but I must admit that I have not read much about her children. I love that the author includes each of her children in this book even though it’s mostly about Princess Louise. It was very captivating and I could not stop reading cause I had to know more. The relationship between Louise and Bertie was probably my favorite because we get to see his soft side for his little sister. All in all this book was amazing and it’s definitely worth a read, I will be reading again in the future.
England, 1861. This story begins with Princess Louise at age twelve and it takes about one-third of the book before she reaches eighteen. Her adolescent years are slow in pace. The story picks the pace half way through when her mother tries to match her with the right candidate for a husband.
The style of writing has a lot of who is doing what, how people are behaving, or at times step-by-step descriptions with lots of dialogue. I was missing characterization of a strong character. Princess Louise is artistically talented and a strong willed person who’d rather forge her own path, rather than follow the strict protocols. And the story weaves it in, but I just didn’t feel it.
It is still an interesting story with a smooth prose. When it comes to dialogue, it’s a personal preference, less dialogue and more characterization. Thus, you may not even notice it.
I found this book slow going. Partly because I would stop to look things up as I didn't know much about this era of history prior to reading this, and partly because it's basically a fictionalized biography, so not the most gripping of tales. That said, Heather Moore does a great job of fleshing out the historical characters and bringing them to life in a relatable way.
I'm glad the book ended when it did, on a positive note. One of my favourite parts of this book was when Princess Louise first met a commoner who didn't instantly recognise her. The exchange was humorous and showed the Princess' character to be very different to what people expected from a Royal.
I will say that I enjoyed Moore's 'The Paper Daughter's of Chinatown" more than this one, but it is a great way to learn more history without going to dry textbooks.
"In the Shadow of a Queen" is a historical fiction based on real facts and people.
I nearly didn't pick this book when I saw the cover, because I thought it would be some kind of mystery/thriller book, but far from it! It's a historical fiction sprinkled with a little bit of romance towards the end.
Just reading the summary, I realised the potential and originality of this book. It is rare to read a fiction from the point of view of a real historical person, and even less common when they are not so famous!
This book is about Louise, the sixth child (and fourth daughter) of Queen Victoria. We follow her from her young teens until right after her marriage. We follow her as we grows up, as she grieves, as she loves, as she becomes an artist and a more engaged woman.
At the beginning of each chapter is an extract from letters of the royal family. That was were a great addition - giving not only direct insight into their thoughts, but also showing how people used to write back in the days!
As always, I really enjoyed Heather B. Moore's writing. We dive seamlessly into the story, jump from one year to the next without realising it. It nearly feels like time-travelling more than reading a story!
I really appreciated discovering Princess Louise's life in the different royal houses, the numerous restrictions she had, as well as the few privileges she could boast. Rather than living "in the shadow of a queen", it rather seemed that she lived a life under the heel of a demanding queen !
While we can easily related to "Loosy" thanks to her open, curious and slightly rebellious character, one just cannot envy her royal life because she had so much pressure and so little freedom...
This book really made the consider real historical characters in a different way - especially Queen Victoria - and also encouraged me to get lost into Wikipedia to learn more about each member of the royal family, the rest of their lives, their children...
In a nutshell, a really great book which I would highly recommend to discover more about the life of Queen Victoria's family, and especially of Louise.
This was a great story to read. I loved the storyline and the characters, definitely recommend this book!
In the Shadow of a Queen is a beautiful depiction of a mother-daughter dynamic. I have seen so many shows that depicted the famous Queen. The book is a unique take on Queen Elizabeth and Prince Albert’s life, especially after the Prince’s death.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in clean, historical fiction. Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to read an arc in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I give it 3.5 Stars.
There are several reasons I was eager to read this book. Having visited the Albert and Victoria Museum in London several times, I didn't feel like I got enough of their actual history from the tours throughout. While I realized they had many children, I hadn't learned much about any of them. Of course, the fact that the heroine of this book was named "Louise" intrigued me more than a bit. My mother was very knowledgeable about British Royalty and continued to study it until she died at an old age. That was one of the many interests she passed down to me, but, unlike her, I was pretty slack in my reading. Then there's the fact that Heather Moore wrote this. I love everything she pens, but, particularly, the historical and scriptural novels. Wow, what research she had to have put into this!
The book mades it so easy for the reader to see these historical characters as real people with real lives. They had some of the human frailties, problems and heartaches as the rest of us. I was, especially, interested in the way that couples to be married were selected and even more so royal couples. It was almost like a science to put the right two individuals together.
Thank you, Heather Moore, for another enjoyable while educational contribution to literature! And thank you, Net Galley, for the opportunity to read it early.
Reviewed on Goodreads for now, will add to other sites when published.
This story is about Princess Louisa -daughter of Queen Victoria of England. It begins when Louise was 12 years old and follows her life and the lives of her family for several years. Important events occur, like the death of her father, and the marriages of her siblings. The story is well written and researched extremely well. I had a hard time getting into the story at the beginning, with several stops and restarts. As Louisa grew I found myself more interested in her and her life story. I had never really paid attention to Queen Victoria's children before, so that drew me in. As she moves through her father's death and her mother's grief, it was interesting to see how those things impacted her and her siblings. There is a wonderful love story woven into this book that I enjoyed a great deal. I would definitely recommend this book to read, give as a gift, and purchase for your library. It has so many historical details that are important in history.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are voluntary and unbiased and are completely my own opinion.
'In the Shadow of a Queen' is a Victorian-era historical fiction novel centred around Louise, the sixth daughter of Queen Victoria, and her fight for freedom within the constraints of royalty. This is a story about knowing who you are from a young age and trying to figure out how you fit within your world. Coming into 'In the Shadow of a Queen', I was excited for a Victorian-era historical fiction novel, especially after just having watched the second season of 'Bridgerton'. I love Victorian-era aesthetics (the heavy velvets, and lace and ballrooms) as well as rebellious coming-of-age stories and royal historical fiction, and this book ticked all of those boxes.
The characterisation in this novel was quite literally Perfect with a capital P. Characters of all ages felt genuine and had depth, even minor characters. As Louise grew older she matured in a very natural, unforced way so that it was impossible to see the changes as they were happening but obvious when looking back a few chapters. In addition, no one was depicted as entirely good or evil, a mistake often made in historical fiction. Queen Victoria, for example, was depicted as a complex, controlling woman, but she was also deep in grief for most of the novel whilst still having the best interests of her children at heart. These conflicting motivations create a stark and unique character who did the best she could but was ultimately flawed. This allowed other characters to have complex and contradictory relationships with her that, whilst not often depicted in literature, felt incredibly human.
*Freedom or Romance?*
Generally, 'In the Shadow of the Queen' was a fun read. The pacing was excellent, even though the plot itself was not what I expected. I had thought the story would be more heavily directed towards Louise’s artistic accomplishments and life in public systems outside the constraints of royalty. It did go in this direction for most of the first half, but in the second half there was a sharp swerve towards romance and Louise’s search for a husband. From that point on, the art and freedom subplots were almost entirely dropped, replaced by relationship and war subplots. This did surprise and disappoint me at first, as the first half felt like it was building up to a strong message that was then instead superseded by romance.
However, in retrospect, I don’t think these threads were dropped entirely, but instead were altered to be experienced in relation to Louise’s new relationships. In the first half, Louise was a child and had few responsibilities, and so could explore her freedom in its entirety. However, as she grew older and gained responsibilities, this freedom needed instead to be experienced within the institution of royalty.
Even though it wasn’t what I expected, I did enjoy the romance subplot, and I can understand why it became the focus.
The writing itself was clear, easy to read and never dragged. Interactions between the characters, much like the characterisation, felt very genuine, and Moore’s ability to clearly express complex emotions so concisely and in such an easily understandable way was impressive.
*Fun and Unique*
Ultimately, 'In the Shadow of a Queen' was a unique, fun, easy-to-read historical fiction that encouraged a genuine connection to the characters, and as a result I rated it 4 stars. Even though it went in a different direction than I expected it to, I was never disappointed.
Readers who liked this book also liked:
Eva Mozes Kor; Lisa Rojany Buccieri
Terry Lee Caruthers