#aww2021 · 2021 Reviews · historical fiction · new release

New Release Book Review: The Royal Correspondent by Alexandra Joel

Title: The Royal Correspondent

Author: Alexandra Joel

Published: February 3rd 2021

Publisher: Harper Collins – AU

Pages: 400

Genres:  Fiction, Historical

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4.5 stars

From the bestselling author of The Paris Model comes another breathtaking story of glamour, romance and espionage.

Success would depend on taking a dangerous risk.

When Blaise Hill, a feisty young journalist from one of Sydney’s toughest neighbourhoods, is dispatched to London at the dawn of the swinging sixties to report on Princess Margaret’s controversial marriage to an unconventional photographer, she is drawn into an elite realm of glamour and intrigue.

As the nation faces an explosive upheaval, Blaise must grapple with a series of shocking scandals at the pinnacle of British society. Yet, haunted by a threat from her past and torn between two very different men, who can she trust in a world of hidden motives and shifting alliances? If she makes the wrong choice, she will lose everything.

Inspired by real events, The Royal Correspondent is a compelling story of love and betrayal, family secrets and conspiracy that takes you from the gritty life of a daily newspaper to the opulent splendour of Buckingham Palace.

Review:

‘Blaise smiled. There was nothing like a whiff of scandal to enliven an innocuous royal story.’

Triumph, victory, ambition, dedication and imperil defines The Royal Correspondent by Australian novelist Alexandra Joel. Just like her previous release The Paris Model, Joel draws on her depth and range of experience as a magazine journalist to vividly bring to life the complicated world a headstrong young journalist. A thoroughly engaging story from open to close, The Royal Correspondent is a novel that I hold in very high regard.

Leading the way in Alexandra Joel’s The Royal Correspondent is Blaise Hill, a young Sydneysider who dreams of becoming a respected journalist. Blaise comes from a tough family background and she knows that if she wants to succeed in life, she must work hard for it. When Blaise is handed the opportunity of lifetime to cover the marriage of notorious royal Princess Margaret, she begins to believe in herself. But London is a place that presents Blaise with heartache, difficult choices and mystery. With plenty of gossip and outrage to deal with Blaise must grapple with her new reporting life. Love also proves to be a difficult area for Blaise to balance with her employment, as she cannot decide who love and who to trust. In The Royal Correspondent, Alexandra Joel presents her readers with a tale that accurately contrasts the life of the privileged with those who live in the shadows of this extravagant world.

I wisely added The Royal Correspondent to my luggage on a recent trip away. Alexandra’s Joel’s latest novel was a fantastic read and I’m so glad I took it with me on my holiday. I was mesmerised by this one. With its vibrant setting, bold characters and rich line of intrigue, The Royal Correspondent was definitely a winner in my eyes. I couldn’t pull myself away from Alexandra Joel’s new book, it certainly had a magnetising effect on me!

Blaise Hill is Alexandra’s Joel engaging lead protagonist in The Royal Correspondent. Blaise is a highly admirable character and I found her extremely down to earth. We witness Blaise make a number of mistakes in her life and career, which helps us to see that she is only human, we all have our flaws. In Blaise, Alexandra Joel is able to explore female work relations and conditions in decades past. We learn about the differences in pay and opportunity for women working in the media industry in the swinging sixties. In the support cast, we have a thoroughly entertaining bunch of secondary members of Blaise’s world, who add plenty of vibrancy to this already fascinating tale. I liked the challenge Blaise faced in her two male love interests who each battle it out for her heart. This segment of the book contributes to the strong line of intrigue and mystery that underscores the story at large.

Alexandra Joel does an excellent job with her world building in The Royal Correspondent. We are directly plunged into the hedonic world of the swinging sixties, complete with its freedoms and restrictions. We also bear witness to the contrast in vast wealth and opulence, thanks to the royal scenes, which is juxtaposed to the life of a beginning female journalist, trying to make it big in a world that is dominated by male power. It is obvious that Joel has conducted a great deal of research to inform her narrative. The end result is a deeply authentic historical fiction creation, which managed to hold my full attention from cover to cover. My favourite part of The Royal Correspondent was the references made to Princess Margaret, her marriage to Tony Armstrong-Jones, Queen Elizabeth and other notable figures of this time period. The focus on the scandals that dominated the headlines of this particular era had me in complete awe. Before you close this book don’t forget to take a good look at the Author’s Note, it adds another dimension to this magnificent tale!

Take a trip down memory lane to the modernity and hedonism of the sixties in The Royal Correspondent by Alexandra Joel. This is one unmissable read by a rising star in the historical fiction world.

The Royal Correspondent by Alexandra Joel was published on 3rd February 2021 by Harper Collins –AU. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Royal Correspondent, Alexandra Joel, visit here.

*Thanks extended to HarperCollins Books Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

The Royal Correspondent is book #18 of the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge

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