Author: Margaret Pemberton
Published by: Pan Macmillan on September 3, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Publishers Group Canada
Book Rating: 9/10
The Summer Queen is an evocative and grand historical novel from Margaret Pemberton, the bestselling author of A Season of Secrets and Beneath the Cypress Tree.
August 1879, Osborne House. Queen Victoria has occupied the British throne for over forty years. Bringing together her extended family from across Europe offers a chance for old alliances to be strengthened and new unions to be forged.
May Teck, daughter of a Duke and Princess, is constantly reminded that she lacks the pedigree to be a true royal. Considering herself an outsider, she finds comfort in meeting two kindred spirits at Osborne; creating a bond with them that she thinks will last forever.
Alicky lives in the shadow of her older siblings and has never recovered from the death of her mother. Until she meets Nicky, heir to the Russian throne, who sweeps her off to his homeland where life will never be the same again.
And then there is Willy, destined to be the future Kaiser of Germany. Suffering from a birth defect, he’s always kept his true feelings locked away and all the world sees is the bombastic persona he projects. As shifting forces of power send warning ripples across Europe, an unavoidable war looms on the horizon . . .
Fascinating, complex, and compelling!
The Summer Queen is an informative, immersive story set in the UK and Europe from the late 1870s until 1918 that tells the story of Queen Victoria’s descendants, primarily three of her grandchildren; May Teck, an educated, Serene Highness who after living a life of exclusion and heartbreak ultimately becomes Queen Mary; Alicky of Hesse, a shy, religious young woman whose enduring love for Nicky Romanov leads her to become Empress Alexandra; and Willy of Prussia, the Queen’s oldest grandchild who after his father’s death becomes Kaiser Wilhelm, the last emperor to rule Germany.
The prose is vivid and perceptive. The characters are multilayered, stalwart, and resilient. And the plot is a sweeping saga that gives us a unique view into the struggles, sacrifices, hopes, fears, politics, and entangled relationships of the most powerful monarchy of the time.
The Summer Queen is, ultimately, a story about life, love, loss, politics, perseverance, power, war, and sacrifice. It’s an exceptionally well written, rich, thoroughly absorbing story by Pemberton that does a remarkable job of highlighting her considerable research and impressive knowledge into the royalty that existed and ruled the British Empire during this exceptionally important period in European history.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.