Author: Danielle Steel
Published: August 25th 2020
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Romance
Rating: 3 stars
In this spellbinding tale from Danielle Steel, a princess is sent away to safety during World War II, where she falls in love, and is lost forever.
As the war rages on in the summer of 1943, causing massive destruction and widespread fear, the King and Queen choose to quietly send their youngest daughter, Princess Charlotte, to live with a trusted noble family in the Yorkshire countryside. Despite her fiery, headstrong nature, the princess’s fragile health poses far too great a risk for her to remain in war-torn London.
Third in line to the throne, seventeen year-old Charlotte reluctantly uses an alias upon her arrival in Yorkshire, her two guardians the only keepers of her true identity. A talented horsewoman, Charlotte begins to enjoy life out of the spotlight, concentrating on training with her beloved horse. But no one predicts that in the coming months she will fall deeply in love with her protectors’ son.
Far from her parents, a tragic turn of events leaves an infant orphaned. Alone in the world, that child will be raised in the most humble circumstances by a modest stable manager and his wife. No one, not even she, knows of her lineage. But when a stack of hidden letters comes to light, a secret kept for nearly two decades finally surfaces, and a long lost princess emerges.
A fascinating story of family and royalty, and an unforgettable portrait of an extraordinary young woman and the man who brings her home, Royal is an exhilarating work from the world’s favourite storyteller.
Following recent bestsellers, The Numbers Game and Daddy’s Girls, Danielle Steel gifts her loyal fans with Royal. A story of the war, a love like no other, tragedy, long held secrets, family and the monarchy forms the latest historical romance release from the worldwide sensation.
Billed as a spellbinding new tale, Royal is the story of a princess in hiding, the impact of war and love on this member of the British monarchy. We meet Princess Charlotte in the year 1943, just as the war is tearing apart Britain. The King and the Queen are concerned for their offspring, so they decide to make the heartbreaking choice to send their youngest daughter away to a safe house in the north of England. Protecting both their royal line and the health of the young heir, Charlotte departs war damaged London for life in the Yorkshire countryside. Going by an alias, Charlotte soon takes to her new life in home of her chaperones. There are only two people who know about Charlotte’s true identity and they have promised to keep her lineage under wraps. Charlotte seems to take to the Yorkshire countryside, she takes long rides on her horse and she begins to form a strong relationship with the son of the household. But this forbidden romance takes a tragic turn that leaves behind a trail of deaths and a young child with no parents. A shocking but essential choice is made, leading this child to grow up in a very different environment than the one she hails from. As this child grows into a woman, she has no idea of her true bloodline. As time goes on, a life changing secret is revealed on the deathbed of her guardian, which urges this lost princess to retrace her royal lineage.
Danielle Steel seems to a garnered a huge fan base across the globe. These loyal readers are always hungry for a new title from this bestselling author, which Steel dutifully provides in quick succession. Royal represents the latest release from this prolific and popular author. It is a story seeped in history, war time experiences, the aristocracy, romance and charm. It is typical Danielle Steel fodder, escapist, predictable, quick, undemanding and formulaic.
I tend to find the more recent Danielle Steel novels I have read seem to capture my attention early with an intriguing premise. This was definitely the case with Royal. My interest was also heightened in the opening sequences of the novel as Steel did a good job of recreating the stirring atmosphere of war torn London during the height of the Blitz. I could sympathise with the King and Queen’s choice to send their youngest daughter who displayed health problems to the relative safety of the Yorkshire countryside. It was a wise and understandable move. However, as soon it was mentioned that the family charged with protecting Princess Charlotte during her stay had a son the same age, I was able to predict what was going to happen! I watched on as the forbidden style romance developed between the Princess in hiding and the son of the household destined for war. There were definitely no surprises and it seemed to progress quite quickly. I would have liked this segment of the storyline to be a little more drawn out, rather than it end in tragedy after tragedy so quickly!
The character of Lucy, a young woman who holds the secret to the lost Princess was unlikeable for the duration for me. I didn’t appreciate her decisions, jealous nature and actions. However, towards the latter stages of this woman’s life she redeems herself, but I did feel this was too little too late. Lucy’s husband was a decent character, with some sense of duty, responsibility and morals. The infant who blossoms into an unknown princess, Annie, was a well-drawn character. There is a strong link to horses and horse racing in this novel, which is connected to the ties this protagonist has to the royal family. For fans of horses and the racing world, this element of the novel will draw appeal. Likewise, if you are a fan of stately homes, Downton Abbey style, Royal will definitely strike a chord. This fairytale like story often requires the reader to suspend belief. Royal is defined by moments happiness, but also pure tragedy. This is a rags to riches style coming of age tale, with a good depiction of war time setbacks, combined with a glimpse into the world of royalty and the life of those who serve in aristocratic homes. Overall, Steel provides a rather brushed over historical focus on a number of story elements, as Royal races to a happy ever after style close.
Perfect for the romanticist at heart and those who enjoy escaping into the world of the aristocracy, Royal takes the reader on a journey through three decades of sacrifice, adventure, love, family, secrets and inheritance.
Royal was published on 25th August 2020 by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Royal, Danielle Steel, visit here.
*Thanks extended to Pan Macmillan for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.