Before Princess Margaret, before Duchess Meghan, there was Princess Louise: royal rebel. As the fourth daughter of the perpetually in-mourning Queen Victoria, Princess Louise’s life is more a gilded prison than a fairy tale. Expected to sit quietly next to her mother with down-cast eyes, Louise vows to escape the stultifying royal court. Blessed with beauty, artistic talent, and a common touch, she creates a life outside the walled-in existence of the palace grounds by attending the National Art Training School—where she shockingly learns to sculpt nude models while falling passionately in love with famed sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm.
But even as Louise cultivates a life outside the palace, she is constantly reminded that even royal rebels must heed the call of duty—and for a princess that means marriage. Refusing to leave England, she agrees to a match with the Duke of Argyll, and although her heart belongs to another, she is determined to act out her public role perfectly, even if her private life teeters on the brink of scandal. But when a near fatal accident forces Louise back under her mother’s iron rule, she realizes she must choose: give in to the grief of lost love or find the strength to fight for her unconventional life.
‘An Indiscreet Princess’ by Georgie Blalock was an unexpected delight – throwing the reader into the world of royalty and its gilded cage; a theme that has continued to this very day and often daily in our current news.
Set during the reign of Queen Victoria and based on facts about her daughter Princess Louise, ‘An Indiscreet Princess’ fictionalises the fascinating life of a royal born woman with desires to exist beyond the formality and expectations of her ‘royal cage’ and the dominance and majesty of her formidable mother.
Blalock has created a fascinating story of an artistic woman who attempts to break the mould of her sovereign birth and reach for her dreams – principally the desire to pursue her artistic talents and attend the National Art Training School. I loved Princess Louise’s control, persistence and careful manipulation of her royal life and duties to taste artistic success, friendships and ultimately love.
It’s also heart-breaking to read of the sacrifices she would need to endure. I really enjoyed the portrayal of Queen Victoria – what a character study! There were so many people I recognised, in particular, the amazing Mr. Brown – the Queen’s indefatigable Scottish servant and most loyal friend. It brought back memories of the fabulous Judi Dench and Billy Connolly film, ‘Mrs. Brown’.
At the heart of the story is the love between Princess Louise and the unattainable love of her life – sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm. This relationship has been discussed by historian Lucinda Hawksley (The Mystery of Princess Louise) and therefore the focus of the novel, creating a fascinating account of what their relationship might have been like.
I would highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy fictionalised historical figures; it’s a real dip into lives of royalty in an accessible and creative way. It’s also beautifully told by Georgie Blalock.
A delightful delve into a defiant daughter’s desire for living a life of her own in a hopelessly trapped and gilded cage.
A book of sacrifice, determination and passion.
Georgie Blalock is an amateur historian and movie buff who loves combining her different passions through historical fiction, and a healthy dose of period piece films. When not writing, she can be found prowling the nonfiction history section of the library or the British film listings on Netflix.
Georgie writes historical romance under the name Georgie Lee.
Please visit http://www.georigeblalock.com for more info about Georgie and her writing.