Book Review: Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn
October 16, 2012 18 Comments
This is a book about the Queen of England going for a walk and disappearing from view. I don’t often like stories about existing people because it’s hard to know fact from fiction. In this case, I didn’t mind, I just took it all to be fiction.
Mrs. Queen Takes the Train: What it is about
From the publisher’s website: “After decades of service and years of watching her family’s troubles splashed across the tabloids, Britain’s Queen is beginning to feel her age. She needs some proper cheering up. An unexpected opportunity offers her relief: an impromptu visit to a place that holds happy memories—the former royal yacht, Britannia, now moored near Edinburgh.
Hidden beneath a skull-emblazoned hoodie, the limber Elizabeth (thank goodness for yoga) walks out of Buckingham Palace into the freedom of a rainy London day and heads for King’s Cross to catch a train to Scotland. But a characterful cast of royal attendants has discovered her missing. In uneasy alliance a lady-in-waiting, a butler, an equerry, a girl from the stables, a dresser, and a clerk from the shop that supplies Her Majesty’s cheese set out to find her and bring her back before her absence becomes a national scandal.”
Mrs. Queen Takes the Train: What I thought
The book is told not only from the Queen’s perspective but also from that of some of her attendants. When they discover that she has maybe taken the train to Scotland, they follow suit in pairs. What follows is a story about modern England, about old values, becoming friends, homosexuality, war trauma’s and a lost son.
The plot is a bit on the light side and the fun of this book comes from the way it is written and from the way the characters relate to each other. A butler and an equerry partially come out of the closet that they never knew they were in. A lady in waiting and a dresser who loathed each other for years travel together and become friends. The Queen herself learns to talk to common people and about the price of a train ticket to the North.
It was a pleasure to read this book. Recommended to anyone who likes a well-written, but light and gentle read.
Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Number of pages: 304
First published: 2012 (Harper)
I got this book: for review from the publishers (ARC)
Genre: contemporary fiction
Have you read this book?
Did you enjoy it?