Mrs Queen Takes the Train: Book summary and reviews of Mrs Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn

Mrs Queen Takes the Train

By William Kuhn

Mrs Queen Takes the Train
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2012,
    384 pages.

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Book Summary

After decades of service and years of watching her family's troubles splashed across the tabloids, Britain's Queen is beginning to feel her age. She needs some proper cheering up. An unexpected opportunity offers her relief: an impromptu visit to a place that holds happy memories - the former royal yacht, Britannia, now moored near Edinburgh. Hidden beneath a skull-emblazoned hoodie, the limber Elizabeth (thank goodness for yoga) walks out of Buckingham Palace into the freedom of a rainy London day and heads for King's Cross to catch a train to Scotland. But a characterful cast of royal attendants has discovered her missing. In uneasy alliance a lady-in-waiting, a butler, an equerry, a girl from the stables, a dresser, and a clerk from the shop that supplies Her Majesty's cheese set out to find her and bring her back before her absence becomes a national scandal.

Mrs Queen Takes the Train is a clever novel, offering a fresh look at a woman who wonders if she, like Britannia herself, has, too, become a relic of the past. William Kuhn paints a charming yet biting portrait of British social, political, and generational rivalries - between upstairs and downstairs, the monarchy and the government, the old and the young. Comic and poignant, fast paced and clever, this delightful debut tweaks the pomp of the monarchy, going beneath its rigid formality to reveal the human heart of the woman at its center.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Royal watchers and students of class alike will enjoy this smart, if familiar, tale." - Publishers Weekly

"Expertly timed to capitalize on the glow emanating from the Diamond Jubilee, the satire here is featherweight (Kuhn is no Sue Townsend) in this 60-gun salute to the establishment that perpetuates the institution of the monarchy, including, of course, the queen herself. Long may she wave." - Library Journal

"This book is the perfect cup of tea for the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Give it to lovers of all things British. It's also a good bet for fans of Alexander McCall Smith." - Booklist

"An affectionate, sympathetic but also unstinting look at the woman inside the sovereign." - Kirkus Reviews

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William Kuhn is a biographer and historian, and the author, most recently, of Reading Jackie, a look at the personality of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis through the books she chose to edit at Viking and Doubleday. He has written three previous books: Democratic Royalism; Henry and Mary Ponsonby, a double biography of two key people at the court of Queen Victoria; and The Politics of Pleasure, a life of Britain's most royalist prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts. This is his first novel.

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