4.5+ stars. A fine novel that I greatly enjoyed and which has piqued my curiosity to learn more. My only critique is that Charlotte Bill's supposed relationship may have been a bit too elaborate, although I am sure she must have had one. Now I have a need to know what her life was like after 1919, although she did live her last years at Sandringham. So my 'need to know' the story of her whole life was a bit shortchanged.
Very importantly for me I did learn about the impact of these years on at least 4 or 5 generations of royals - from 1897 until Charlotte ( Lala)'s death in 1964. These 6 children of King George and Queen Mary had some impact of their royal great grandmother Queen Victoria's last years, the entire reign of their grandparents and their parents. I know now also that Queen Elizabeth and her Uncle Harry reflected on those years and possibly made changes in their lives in my own lifetime, as well as the grandchildren of Queen Elizabeth.
How the dynamics of this royal family with it's German roots and family relationships was absolutely riveting. The number of things I learned was amazing,the Sandringham Regiment's tragedy at Gallipoli and how the King's decision to deny the family of Tsar Nicholas emigration to England may have led to their deaths were both quite startling.
As I read, I came to understand, that beyond these family and domestic events, Europe itself was being impacted at this time. Quite possibly, the royals understanding of how precarious was their existence on the world stage, fed into their interpersonal relationship. The royals made their best attempt to prepare and "toughen up" at least their sons and overprotect their daughters in light of their dynastic and political threats.
Karen Harper has always been a favorite author but this one has a depth of understanding that can "grow on" the reader. I recommend this book to any who enjoy historical novels of any genre.