Synopsis (from Amazon):
London 1788. The calm order of Queen Charlotte’s court is shattered by screams. The King of England is going mad. Left alone with thirteen children and with the country at war, Charlotte has to fight to hold her husband’s throne. It is a time of unrest and revolutions but most of all Charlotte fears the King himself, someone she can no longer love or trust. She has lost her marriage to madness and there is nothing she can do except continue to do her royal duty. Her six daughters are desperate to escape their palace asylum. Their only chance lies in a good marriage, but no prince wants the daughter of a madman. They are forced to take love wherever they can find it, with devastating consequences. The moving true story of George III’s madness and the women whose lives it destroyed.
I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, but usually, my tastes run to Tudor or Roman escapades. Queen of Bedlam, however, has made the Regency period a whole lot more attractive to me!
I knew a little about the period and the situation of George III and the Prince Regent before coming to the novel, largely due to films such as The Madness of King George and television shows like Blackadder III, so although I wasn’t coming to the book blind, I knew there was a lot I didn’t know. I was pleased to find the novel was engaging and informative, without ever being condescending or presumptive. It is equal parts historical fact and musings as to the inner thoughts and motivations of the royal family during what must have been an incredibly trying time for them all.
The glimpse into the workings of the royal family as the ruling monarch descends into madness, leaving the country effectively bereft of leadership while at war, is fascinating, and the strength of the women, in particular Queen Charlotte and her eldest daughter, Princess Royal (also named Charlotte), must have been immense to keep things together until the Regency was established, putting the Prince of Wales (also named George, after his father), at the reigns.
The writing flows beautifully, making for a very pleasurable reading experience that leaves one with a far better knowledge of Regency Royalty and how they must have felt dealing with life, love, loss, and a father (and ruler!) whose mood changed like the British weather, and whose very sanity was constantly in question.
See Laura Purcell’s author guest post HERE.