Fabulous Fiction Firsts #366

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train is historian/biographer William Kuhn's first foray into fiction and I hope, with more to follow.

On a cold and drippy November afternoon, The Queen, suffering from a recent bout of melancholia found herself walking towards Jermyn Street looking for cheddar - a special kind for her horse Elizabeth. Remembering happier times, she caught a train heading for Edinburgh where the royal yacht Britannia is docked as a tourist attraction. Meanwhile, in Buckingham Palace her royal attendants, fearing the worst, frantically searched for clues as to her whereabouts while fending off MI5, eager to chase down the errant monarch, hopefully one step ahead of the tabloids.

"Kuhn explores not only the queen's inner life (and the secrets she carries in that iconic purse), but the Downton Abbey style-tensions between servants and royals, the old guard and the new. The servants are the real stars here".... Among them is William, her butler, Lady Anne (her Lady-in-Waiting), her Chief Dresser Shirley (from humble beginnings but definitely the Queen's confidant), and Luke Thomason, her equerry, a decorated young officer recently returned from Iraq, wounds and all. Their back stories, their inner lives, and their friendship are engaging, but it is their utterly selfless devotion to the Crown that shines through.

Fans of Lilibet would enjoy Sue Townsend's immensely entertaining The Queen and I, and as brilliantly and sympathetically portrayed in The Queen by Dame Helen Mirren.