Four big fat stars. Jane Ridley is such a good author. This book reads like a fictional novel instead of an historical biography. No dry prose, no lengthy dull lists of facts. Jane brings George V and the inimitable Queen Mary to vivid life. It is truly a ‘you are there’ type of book; I felt like a fly on the wall eavesdropping on these people!
They led such ordinary lives with each other. Shooting things and collecting stamps for George; Mary and her life mission of ‘acquisitions’ for the Royal Collection; the routine daily life they lived behind the palace doors. Then, Bam!, some Royalty things of great pomp and ceremony happen; Bam!, some historically important other thing happens that changes the world, and then they go home and sit around talking and writing letters. We learn that Royalty are not like us, except that, sometimes, they are.
The children are here: Edward (and the scheming Mrs. Simpson), the mysterious Duke George of Kent, dear little Prince John, and future King George VI. Yes, Queen Elizabeth (Lilibet) makes an appearance and a lasting impression.
I got bogged down a bit with trying to understand Parliament and how it all works, but I’m from America so there was quite a bit of Google involved in getting through all that. Not a downvote by any means-I just needed more info and easy explanations for it to all make sense to me. There are footnotes galore, tons of photos and I just waded into the book and wallowed around. Everybody who was anybody, famous or infamous, drops into the narrative to play their part-Czar & Kaiser, I’m looking at you! This is the perfect book for anyone who enjoys ‘history’ in general or the ‘Royal Family’.
I’m not sure what Jane Ridley is writing now but I will happily read anything she puts out.