Monday, November 14, 2022

Review: In the Shadow of a Queen by Heather B. Moore

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


Based on the true story of the free-spirited daughter of Queen Victoria.

Princess Louise’s life is upended after her father’s untimely death. Captive to the queen’s overwhelming mourning, Louise is forbidden to leave her mother’s tight circle of control and is eventually 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, 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 to finding an acceptable match for her defiant daughter.

Louise is considered the most beautiful and talented daughter of Queen Victoria, but finding a match for the princess is no easy feat. Protocols are broken, and Louise exerts her own will as she tries to find an open-minded husband who will support her free spirit.

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.

My Review

I don't read many books about royalty, fiction or non, so I didn't know what to expect when I read this book except that Heather B. Moore always draws me into the historical setting and the lives of the historical figures her books are based on. Sure enough, I felt immersed in the life that Louise lives over the span of her childhood and young adult years. We're shown the family dynamics through vignettes of daily life and excerpts from actual letters which begin each chapter. People that strongly influenced Louise as well as moments of great impact were touched on, and I felt like it prepared me for the majority of the book which focused on her young adult years of pursuing her interests as much as the queen would allow, as well as the hunt for her future husband. Political relationships were woven in but not aggressively, so I felt that they added to the greater picture rather than taking over. As an artist myself I loved the details of Louise's drawing and sculpture, and I hope to one day see some of her work in person. Of course I adore romance so the husband hunt was fascinating. Because Louise's older siblings married for connection, the queen was more lenient as the years went on as to who Louise could consider. The author explored the logistics of such a process, Louise's vulnerability, and eventually the gentle romance that developed, which was absolutely lovely. The overall theme of Louise's relationship with her mother was intriguing, with details and nuances that could only come from meticulous research, which I know this author excels at. This is a must-read for fans of historical fiction and would make an excellent book club pick.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

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