Author: Jean Plaidy
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1970
Genre: Historical fiction
Hardback, 352 pages
From the book flap:
Forced to marry Caroline of Brunswick in order to appease an angry Parliament and pay his enormous debts, the Prince of Wales soon regrets his decision. For Caroline is everything the future Queen of England should not be: tactless, coquettish, and outrageous. Dressing in flamboyant clothing, shocking people with her vulgar speech, Caroline seems less a princess than a serving wench.
But if these traits do not endear her to her husband, they do endear her to the people of England, who delight in her antics, appreciate her love of children, and rally to her side in her never-ending battles with the Prince of Wales, who has frown increasingly unpopular with age.
Realizing that divorce would only make him more unpopular, the prince determines to gather irrefutable evidence that Caroline is unfit to be queen. Once her indiscretions become public knowledge, he reasons, the people will no longer support the wife he despises. His quest to rid himself of Caroline forever culminates in one of the most famous cases in history, in which a Queen of England stood trial-charged with adultery.
Caroline's "troubles" start early in life. Her gene pool is a little cloudy so she is treated with kid gloves most of her early life. People don't want to upset or disturb her when correcting her socially unacceptable behavior. They don't want to send her over the edge. Keep in mind the socially unacceptable behavior extends to her uproarious laughter, voicing her opinions or thoughts, and addressing everyone, I mean everyone regardless of rank as "dear". Oh the horror, my sweethearts!
Caroline's mother is no help, and the only person who tries to help her is her father's mistress. Unfortunately she is not really in the best position to help Caroline. She can only do so much considering the prevailing social conventions of the day. For 26 years, Caroline runs wild and does as she pleases, therefore when she goes to England to be married Caroline is ill prepared to deal with or handle English manners or aristocracy.
In England, Caroline also must deal with the sins of her mother's past actions. Unfortunately everywhere she turns Caroline is disliked and disrespected, except when it comes to the common folk, who love her immensely. She treats them with respect in a kind and caring manner. For all her faults, Caroline performed a lot of good works during her English "reign".
Plaidy's description of Caroline and the Prince's wedding night is hilarious, as is some of the conversations between Caroline and her friends. Caroline may have been a little out there, but she was truly a good soul who endured quite a bit during her adult life.
With respect to the Prince of Wales, all I can say is what an ass! My God, I would have slapped him or something. Between his crying jags and waving his scented hankie around, he did not display many great traits in my opinion. I did empathize with him in regards to his lost love with Maria. However, if the Prince would have tempered his bad habits, maybe he could have found a way to be with Maria, instead of marrying someone who he had no intention of liking.
All in all this book was a good read. Plaidy's writing makes it easy to connect with the characters and what they are experiencing, good or bad. Plaidy has quite a knack for bringing out strong feelings in the reader, with respect to her storyline. At least she does for me.
For more information on Caroline her is an interesting page and here is her Wikipedia entry.
My Rating: 85/100
(Yes, I'm changing my rating system. More on that later.)
Challenges: JeanPlaidy Challenge 2009, Library Challenge 2009
This was also the May selction for the Jean Plaidy Reading Group at Royal Intrirgue