Hi y’all! I am thrilled to be participating in the blog tour for In the Shadow of a Queen by Heather B. Moore!
This book immediately stood out to me with the focus on Queen Victoria’s daughter, Louise, and the intriguing historical setting. I love all things British royal family and Queen Victoria! I was immediately pulled into this gripping, fascinating story and loved all the historical details. This novel offers an illuminating glimpse into life as a child of Queen Victoria that is brimming with heart, love, and the complexities of family relationships. Moore’s meticulous research is impressive! I appreciated her candor about the research process as well as the notes at the end of the book. I was captivated by Princess Louise and her story from start to finish.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.
Book Summary: “Based on the True Story of the Free-Spirited Daughter of Queen Victoria.
Princess Louise’s life is upended after her father’s untimely death. Captive to the queen’s overwhelming mourning, Louise is forbidden to leave her mother’s tight circle of control and is eventually relegated to the position of personal secretary to her mother―the same position each of her sisters held until they were married.
Already an accomplished painter, Louise risks the queen’s wrath by exploring the art of sculpting, an activity viewed as unbefitting a woman. When Louise involves herself in the day’s political matters, including championing the career of a female doctor and communicating with suffragettes, the queen lays down the law to stop her and devotes her full energy to finding an acceptable match for her defiant daughter.
Louise is considered the most beautiful and talented daughter of Queen Victoria but finding a match for the princess is no easy feat. Protocols are broken, and Louise exerts her own will as she tries to find an open-minded husband who will support her free spirit.
In the Shadow of a Queen is the story of a battle of wills between two women: a daughter determined to forge her own life beyond the shadow of her mother, and a queen resolved to keep the Crown’s reputation unsullied no matter the cost.“
Princess Louise is a vibrant, engaging heroine that you can’t help but love. Her passion for art and women’s rights was contagious. She loves to learn and to read about everything from medical remedies to sculpting. I like to think that we would be friends. The novel begins with the tragic death of her father, Prince Albert, and all the poignant hardships that stem from that singular event. I felt emotional reading about their sorrowful mourning, the changes to their household, how tightly Queen Victoria held onto her grief, and the deep hole left by Albert’s death. Yet they carry on and continue to try to improve themselves and their country. Throughout the difficult task of living without their father, it seemed to be Louise who helped the family stay together. Working with her mother, the Queen, letter writing with her siblings in far off lands, talking with Bertie and Leo, Louise was at the center of their family. She navigates a complex family rather well as she tries to balance feeling like her own person and honoring her mother, the Queen. I loved her friendships with Sybil, her brother Leo, and her future husband. And I enjoyed following Louise’s journey to find what truly mattered to her.
Louise’s gifts for art and sculpture were fascinating to read about and her determination to learn was inspiring. I did not know that she created the sculpture of Queen Victoria outside Kensington Palace. I’ve seen that sculpture; it is an amazing work out art! Having little knowledge of sculpture myself, I was fascinated by the details of her work. Of her sketches from multiple angles, the ways she learns to work with clay and marble, even the different styles of her teachers. Louise impressed me with how she works for her dreams and for the causes she supports from her experiences learning at the National Art Training School to rolling bandages to send to Florence Nightingale to visiting Elizabeth Garrett and writing to suffragettes. At a time when views on women, medicine, government and more were shifting, Louise formed her own opinions and wasn’t afraid to be her own woman. I respect her vision and determination.
The most compelling relationship in the book is that of Louise’s with her mother, Queen Victoria. Perhaps it is this relationship that makes the book so engaging. They are similar in many ways — stubborn, fiercely loyal, passionate, and protective of their family. Yet they also differ. Louise’s views on women’s suffrage, medicine, education (including her own), and marriage are quite distinct from her mother. Their relationship is complex and certainly not perfect. But they grow together, they work together, and they love each other. The years Louise spends as her mother’s secretary like her sisters before her were years of understanding and also conflict between the women. But I love that they ultimately work together to find Louise a suitable man to marry. And they seem to find a balance between Victoria’s role as queen and her role as mother. I admire Louise’s strength and poise as she stands up for herself and her future husband.
I really enjoyed the journey Louise takes to find her husband, John Campbell and appreciated the historical details Moore includes. The complexities of marrying a royal, not just the heir apparent, were fascinating. First the look for foreign princes with certain qualifications but Victoria wants Louise closer so they begin looking into a member of the British peerage. The matchmaker games were at times almost laughable as they seemed to always pick someone with a prior attachment. Louise’s relationship with John unfolds in a beautiful way. I felt their love for each other grow and deepen as they get to know each other and share their true views with each other. How wonderful to find someone who understands you and supports you in your causes. Although the Queen arriving unexpectedly two days into the honeymoon was laughable! The strength and commitment that Louise and John share at the start of their marriage is beautiful!
Overall, a fascinating look into the life behind the royal roles of Queen Victoria and her family. I loved seeing the interactions between all the siblings with Louise and how she brings her family together. This is a story of hope and healing, sorrow and love, strength and determination. A beautiful tribute to a daughter of a queen.
What are some of your favorite historical novels about royalty?
Any Queen Victoria fans out there? 🙂
Heather B. Moore is a USA Today best-selling and award-winning author of more than seventy publications, including The Paper Daughters of Chinatown. She has lived on both the East and West Coasts of the United States, as well as Hawaii, and attended school abroad at the Cairo American Collage in Egypt and the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel. She loves to learn about history and is passionate about historical research.
4 thoughts on “[In the Shadow of a Queen]: An ARC Blog Tour Review”
Excellent review. I am currently reading Toni Shiloh’s To Win A Prince, and it is really good. Loved the first book in the series!
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Thank you! That sounds like a fun read! Hope you enjoy it! 🙂
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That’s interesting. The usual interpretation is that her husband was actually gay, she only married him because she wanted to stay near her artist friends in London rather than going off to one of the German states, and it was a marriage of convenience! I might try this book once the price comes down, thanks.
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I didn’t know that. It’s certainly portrayed here as a love match. And that they couldn’t have children because of an illness of Louise’s as a teenager. Interesting to hear about other interpretations. I really enjoyed this one!
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