Pub. Date: June 21st, 2016
April, 1897: A young nanny arrives at Sandringham, ancestral estate of the Duke and Duchess of York. She is excited, exhausted—and about to meet royalty. . . .
So begins the unforgettable story of Charlotte Bill, who would care for a generation of royals as their parents never could. Neither Charlotte—Lala, as her charges dub her—nor anyone else can predict that eldest sons David and Bertie will each one day be king. Lala knows only that these children, and the four who swiftly follow, need her steadfast loyalty and unconditional affection.
But the greatest impact on Charlotte’s life is made by a mere bud on the family tree: a misunderstood soul who will one day be known as the Lost Prince. Young Prince John needs all of Lala’s love, the kind of love his parents won’t—or can’t—show him.
What Did I Think About the Story?
Oh my, did I itch to get my hands on this book! I've read and really enjoyed a few of Karen Harper's books before (The Queen's Governess, Mistress of Mourning) and seem to never be able to turn down a book about the British royal family. On top of that, I haven't read very much about the Windsors, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn more about this branch of British royalty. I'm so happy to say that The Royal Nanny not only fed my need for royal fiction but also gave me so much more than I expected when it came to the rearing and caring of children during this time period.
My favorite aspect of the story has to be the behind-the-scenes feel of it. As I read the story I couldn't help but think about how truly unique Charlotte's life was. I can't think of another position that would have not only the access to royal parents and their spectacular extended network of family and friends but that would have the ability to influence and raise the next generation of history-making individuals. These nannies love their charges (or should...Charlotte took over for a hideous woman who didn't!) and are loved in turn by these elite set of people, and not many people can say that. In the capable hands of Ms. Harper we the reader are so lucky to see into every hidden corner and witness, from the viewpoint of an incredibly well drawn woman, history in the making as well as the youngsters who would go on to make even more history.
Another wonderful aspect is just how real the characters feel (which is wonderful, since many are, in fact, real people from history). It was easy for me to picture every one of the characters populating the story, with all their unique and interesting foibles. I especially adored Charlotte and her royal children, even when I found myself frustrated or disappointed by some of the choices they made. I think any time an author can make the reader really feel for the characters they present, the reader's going to be in for a treat. Add on to that a great perspective and storyline and you're golden. Now teach the reader something about history and the world around them, and I can't think of anything else you could want (at least for this history-loving reader).
Now, I will say that the only character I wasn't overly crazy about was Chad Reaver, the gamekeeper (and much more) of the Sandringham estate. I hate saying this as there isn't really anything wrong with Chad, he's a likable enough character, but I felt Charlotte's attraction to him pulled her attention (and therefore the attention of the reader) from the characters and situations I was most interested in. She spent a lot of time thinking about him, and I (especially in the beginning) kept wanting to tell her to focus on other things around her that I wanted to hear more about. This is completely selfish, I know, but there you have it. I did like him more as the story progressed, but I'm never the biggest fan of the romance elements of stories, so this was my least favorite aspect.
All this being said, The Royal Nanny is a wonderful story. I'm sure I'll be thinking about Charlotte and her children for a good while now that I'm done spending time with them. Like most wonderful fiction stories, this story has me excited to read more nonfiction about nannies, the upstairs/downstairs dynamic and interaction, and each of these individual historical people. If you love historical fiction - especially the kind dealing with royalty - as much as I do, you can't go wrong with The Royal Nanny.
What Did I Think About the Cover?
I know a lot of people can't stand covers with the heads cut off, but I actually don't mind them. I think the cover's pretty, with pleasant colors and the lovely picture of Sandringham in the background, and it definitely fits the story (Lala front and center!). I don't think it's the kind of cover that necessarily blows me away, but I still really like it!
My Rating: 4.5/5.0
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review! Continue below for more information about the book, the author, and the rest of the blog tour!
Buy the Book
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author KAREN HARPER is a former Ohio State Dark Angel, and her novel Shattered Secrets was judged one of the best books of the year by Suspense Magazine.
University instructor and high school English teacher. Published since 1982, she writes contemporary suspense and historical novels about real British women. Two of her recent Tudor-era books were bestsellers in the UK and Russia. Harper won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for
Find out more about Karen at her website, and connect with her on Facebook.
TLC Book Tour for The Royal Nanny
Tuesday, June 21st: BookNAround
Wednesday, June 22nd: bookchickdi
Thursday, June 23rd: A Bookish Affair
Monday, June 27th: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, June 28th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, June 29th: A Literary Vacation
Thursday, June 30th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, July 1st: Luxury Reading
Tuesday, July 5th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, July 6th: Read. Write. Repeat.
Thursday, July 7th: Broken Teepee