Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Mrs. Queen Takes the Train," by William Kuhn

Those who enjoyed Alan Bennett's "The Uncommon Reader" (which I wrote about on 3/12/10) will like William Kuhn's "Mrs. Queen Takes the Train" (HarperCollins, 2012), a sedately humorous and rather sweet novel about a fictional unexpected train trip Queen Elizabeth takes from London to Scotland. Although perhaps lacking the affectionately sharp wit of Bennett's novel, this novel also displays an endearing affection for the Queen. The story takes its time, and although there is a plot, it seems to be mainly an excuse for exploring the Queen's character and personality, and her loyalty to the British people. There are several other interesting characters, members of the Queen's household (an Equerry, a butler, a lady-in-waiting, a young female stable worker, etc.), and some lovely alliances -- even a couple of romances -- develop during the course of the action. This novel is ideal for Anglophiles and fans of the British royalty. But it is not at all -- or if so, very indirectly -- political, and no matter whether or not one supports the tradition of royalty, a reader can thoroughly enjoy this journey with the Queen.

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