The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince by Jane Ridley

4 stars. This was SO GOOD. Ridley started this book in 2003 and it published in 2013-due to many factors (detailed in the extensive author’s notes) she took her time and it shows. Richly detailed and EXHAUSTIVELY researched, the book isn’t an expose’ of ‘Bertie’; more of a revelation of the man behind the title. We get some Victoria and Albert, a whole lot of Bertie and a good look at the Kaiser and the Czar. It took me eight days to read this hefty tome. I had to stop over and over to read footnotes, peruse the photo section and then Google things-it was a reading experience and I loved it. The reasons it didn’t get five stars was, first, format and access errors in the Kindle version of footnotes and photos that crashed me no matter which reader or app I used-NOT the authors fault, but it was a pain and so easy for the publisher to correct. Every version should be navigable and in 2022, it’s just unacceptable. The other reason was it lost its way a bit near the end. Too much ‘telling the facts’ instead of telling the story-they were interesting and added to the understanding of Bertie both as Prince of Wales and as King, but just bogged down. The after notes were very good-Ridley has a George V book published in 2021; the notes from VII give a great set up to V. Don’t be put off by the size-this is a wonderful book.

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