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The Queen's Secret
The Queen's Secret: A Novel of England's World War II Queen | Karen Harper
26 posts | 16 read | 10 to read
If you love Jennifer Robson or The Crown you will love New York Times bestselling author Karen Harper's novel about Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. 1939. As the wife of the King George VI and the mother of the future queen, Elizabeth--"the queen mother"--shows a warm, smiling face to the world. But it's no surprise that Hitler himself calls her the "Most Dangerous Woman in Europe." For behind that soft voice and kindly demeanor is a will of steel. Two years earlier, George was thrust onto the throne when his brother Edward abdicated, determined to marry his divorced, American mistress Mrs. Simpson. Vowing to do whatever it takes to make her husband's reign a success, Elizabeth endears herself to the British people, and prevents the former king and his brazen bride from ever again setting foot in Buckingham Palace. Elizabeth holds many powerful cards, she's also hiding damaging secrets about her past and her provenance that could prove to be her undoing. In this riveting novel of royal secrets and intrigue, Karen Harper lifts the veil on one of the world's most fascinating families, and how its "secret weapon" of a matriarch maneuvered her way through one of the most dangerous chapters of the century.
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Librarybelle
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It‘s time for this month‘s #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead discussion! I have 6 questions posted under spoilers - you can find these by either searching the hashtag, the book‘s feed, or my feed.

Anything else to discuss? Comment below! Also, if you have not indicated you wish to be tagged for next month‘s book, The Dictionary of Lost Words, let me know! Thanks everyone!

Ann_Reads Unfortunately, I didn't have time to fit this in. Now with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, I thought about reading The Queen's Secret but it doesn't look like this was a popular pick with the #LiteraryCrew.
Any other suggestions for a book about Queen Elizabeth (historical fiction or nonfiction) would be appreciated. A similar book you liked better? Thanks! 🙂
3mo
Librarybelle @Ann_Reads I have yet to read this one, but I have heard really good things about it: 3mo
Ann_Reads @Librarybelle Thank you. 😁 3mo
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Librarybelle
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6. On top of the war and her other problems, the queen has a “mother-in-law” challenge. Does she handle this well? Is she especially burdened by her mother-in-law being a former queen? Adapted from Reading Group Guide #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead

PurpleyPumpkin Their MIL/DIL relationship seemed pretty typical and I think QE handled it quite well. 👍🏽 3mo
Sargar114 It‘s funny, I have a similar dynamic with my mother in law. She does seem to handle it well, but it‘s hard when it‘s so obvious that your spouse is not the “favorite” child of them let alone the ruler of a country. 3mo
julieclair I thought QE handled Queen Mary very well. QM seemed like she would be a rather daunting MIL. 3mo
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Librarybelle
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5. Think about Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, as portrayed in this novel. How are their personalities different? Adapted from Reading Group Guide #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead

PurpleyPumpkin I‘ve read before that PE was prepared from a young age to inherit the throne. This novel reinforced that notion and reflected PE as a more serious child that always seemed mature for her age. PM was much more rambunctious and carefree. Then again, aren‘t these the personality types for most first and second children in families? The first tends to be more serious/sensitive/practical and the second more outgoing. 3mo
Sargar114 Agreed @PurpleyPumpkin. I wonder if the older/younger child dynamic had something to do with it or just PE realizing at a young age that she would have to take over the throne at some point and just accepted it and prepared. 3mo
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Librarybelle
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4. Does Elizabeth‘s hatred for Wallis Simpson stem only from the fact that Wallis was a rival whom David preferred? Or was it more? Adapted from Reading Group Guide #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead

PurpleyPumpkin I‘ve always had the impression that Wallis Simpson was universally disliked, so Queen Elizabeth‘s hatred of her wasn‘t surprising. WS was the reason King George was unexpectedly thrust onto the throne and that, for me, feels like the main reason QE disliked her since family was so important to her. But I think there were a number of factors at play. 3mo
julieclair I think the main reason QE hated Wallis was because she was the reason Bertie became king. David‘s abdication turned Bertie & Elizabeth‘s world upside down, throwing them into lifelong rolls that they had never expected to fill, and for which they were not prepared. 3mo
Sargar114 I agree with @PurpleyPumpkin @julieclair it seemed the main reason for her hatred was Wallis being the reason her family was in the position they were in. Also agree it seems there are multiple factors and frankly she never seems to be portrayed as being a pleasant person anyway. 3mo
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Librarybelle
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3. Not really a question, but some more information on “surrogacy” and “mother-like” figures among the royals. Have you heard any of these stories? #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead

Link to Vanity Fair article below…

PurpleyPumpkin Such an interesting article! I knew that nannies played prominent roles in history, but didn‘t know details. This article was quite enlightening. (edited) 3mo
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Librarybelle
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2. The “surrogate” mother solution was not unknown among British aristocrats who were childless or needed “heirs and spares.” Is it understandable that Elizabeth would hide the news? Why did she finally tell Bertie about that but not tell him her secret about David? Adapted from Reading Group Guide #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead

julieclair I was surprised to learn this. I didn‘t realize it was an accepted practice at that time, although it makes sense, as the “heir and a spare” concept seemed to be so very important. I think that keeping it a secret was just how things were done in those times. I‘m glad things are much more open today, as I believe openness is much healthier for all concerned. 3mo
julieclair I think she was able to share her birthmother secret with Bertie because she was totally blameless in that situation. The story of her history with David was different. Although the assault was in no way her fault, she had “set her cap” for him, and was embarrassed to admit that this was the result. (I do wonder if this allegation could possibly be true? How would anyone know? But everything else written about David in the book does seem factual.) 3mo
Sargar114 @julieclair the little bit I followed up on after reading this suggests that this is speculation. I HATE that her resolution was not tell Bertie about that AND that she was relieved that she didn‘t have to. It bothered me knowing that would be the example she sets for her daughters. 3mo
julieclair @Sargar114 I agree. I was disappointed that she didn't tell Bertie. Secrets in families are never a good thing, in my opinion. 3mo
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Librarybelle
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1. The Queen Elizabeth of this novel is not just the smiling, waving figure many recall. When she was Duchess of York and then queen during WWII, what were her good and bad characteristics? From Reading Group Guide #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead

julieclair I really enjoyed this portrayal of her as a 3-dimensional person, rather than as the flat, 2-dimensional waving royal we see in photos. I think her strengths were her love for her children, her strength in supporting and advising her husband, and her interest in, and kindness to, the everyday people of Britain. On the negative side, she was a bit too controlling and manipulative, and even meddlesome at times. 3mo
Sargar114 I liked that there is more than meets the eye with her. She was smart, loving, and extremely supportive. However I didn‘t like the self depreciation nor the vengefulness that she showed quite a bit. 3mo
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Librarybelle
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Discussion in less than a week for this month‘s #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead - and judging from the comments I‘ve seen, this one is probably not going to be a favorite read!

Any thoughts to share before the discussion?

KristiAhlers Ugh sorry I missed this one. Than again if it‘s not a great read we will chalk it up to everything happens for a reason. 3mo
Sargar114 @Librarybelle bad books usually mean good discussion though…so there‘s that 😂 3mo
julieclair I am not finished yet, but liking it so far. Looking forward to the discussion, especially if others didn‘t like it… I always love to hear different opinions. 3mo
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CarolineLovesToRead I had set this one aside for a few days. Going to try and finish it this weekend 3mo
PurpleyPumpkin I‘ve been quite enjoying the audiobook. It‘s certainly a different take on the Royal Family‘s story. Looking forward to an interesting discussion! 3mo
Librarybelle @KristiAhlers Admittedly, I haven‘t started yet - life is getting in the way - but I‘m hoping I like it! 3mo
Librarybelle @Sargar114 So true!! 😂 3mo
Librarybelle @julieclair @PurpleyPumpkin So glad you‘re liking it! I had only seen not so happy thoughts about this, so I am so glad to see some positive thoughts!! 3mo
Librarybelle @CarolineLovesToRead I‘m hoping to get to it this weekend! 3mo
julieclair @PurpleyPumpkin I‘m listening to it on audio as well. Maybe this is going to be one of those books that‘s just better on audio. 3mo
PurpleyPumpkin @julieclair That‘s definitely sometimes the case, that the audiobook is more engaging. I really enjoyed the narrator, Bianca Amato. 3mo
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kspenmoll
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I am struggling with this book. The whole secret thing, & how fabulous she was - apparently King George could not have lead the country with out her. I do credit her with getting him into therapy for his stammer- maybe the movie The King‘s Speech is too big an act to follow for this fictionalized account of The Queen and her “secret”. . The writing is simplistic and boring. Sorry #literarycrew

melissajayne I had to bail on the book back in February; felt that it was too simplistic. 4mo
Librarybelle That seems to be the consensus this month! 3mo
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Sargar114
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Mehso-so

This one was a bit of a struggle for me. It was slow to start, but the subject matter was so fascinating that it was easy to push through. However the ending fell flat for me. I will save the remainder of my thoughts for the #literarycrew discussion at the end of the month.

Librarybelle The discussion should be good! Thanks for joining this month! 4mo
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Librarybelle
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What should have been a beginning of the month check in is now a middle of the month check in for this month‘s #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead ! So sorry - life has been stressful and sleep depriving, to put it mildly!

Discussion will be on the 31st. If you have started this, how is it going so far? I‘ve not read anything by Karen Harper, so I‘m looking forward to starting this one!

PurpleyPumpkin Argh I haven‘t started this one yet! But soon…📖 4mo
julieclair I am really enjoying this so far! 4mo
Sargar114 It was a slow start for me, but it‘s gotten better. The story itself is very interesting though 4mo
CarolineLovesToRead I just started it and finding it hard to get into it. It is a bit slow but do want to keep going as the story does sound interesting 4mo
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LitsyEvents
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Repost for @Librarybelle

In August, #LiteraryCrew will read and discuss The Queen‘s Secret by Karen Harper for the next #BuddyRead . This is a low key buddy read - read at your own pace, and I will post periodic check ins throughout the month. Discussion questions posted on the 31st.

Librarybelle Thanks for reposting! 5mo
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Librarybelle
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My apologies…I‘m terribly behind posting next month‘s book!

In August, #LiteraryCrew will read and discuss The Queen‘s Secret by Karen Harper for the next #BuddyRead . This is a low key buddy read - read at your own pace, and I will post periodic check ins throughout the month. Discussion questions posted on the 31st.

Tagging those who have already expressed interest, but all are welcome. Comment below if you wish to be added to the list!

MoonWitch94 Can‘t wait! 5mo
julieclair Ooohhhh…. This looks so good! 👍 5mo
CarolineLovesToRead So sorry for missing this message. I‘m in for sure 4mo
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BethM I‘m not getting tagged anymore- please re-add me! I‘ve got this one! 4mo
Librarybelle Hooray, @BethM ! 4mo
Librarybelle @CoverToCoverGirl @Kdgordon88 @Jerdencon Are you able to join the group for the August read? 4mo
CoverToCoverGirl I‘ve already attempted this one, I‘m sorry to say I bailed. It will be interesting to see everyone else‘s opinion on this one. Thanks for tagging me. 🙂 What is next month‘s selection? I can‘t recall what was chosen.🤦🏼‍♀️ (edited) 4mo
Blackink_WhitePaper I have this book in audio, I will give a try. Please include me 💐😊 4mo
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melissajayne
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Bailedbailed

I had to. The premise of the book was interesting but I couldn‘t get past the writing, which was simplistic at best and the “secret”, which is mentioned in the first chapter, is merely a rumour. I usually love #wwii #historicalfiction, but this one I couldn‘t get beyond 20% of the book. I‘m equally frustrated because I paid over $20 CDN for my copy. #2022 #fiction #bailed Was my #bookspin book for February

CarolynM I hate it when that happens😫 Hope you like your next book 10mo
TheAromaofBooks So frustrating!!! Sorry this one was a bust!! 10mo
melissajayne @TheAromaofBooks It‘s why I generally borrow my books from the library instead of buying them. And I had hoped it would be better. 10mo
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melissajayne
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1) Tagged book, Sense & Sensibility, The Promised Land, Sunflower Sisters, Jesus and John Wayne

2) The Maid

3) Jane Eyre

#weekendreads

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emilycoc
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Pickpick

Finished this up as I saw outside enjoying one of the last sunny days of the fall (I assume). This was a great read. I have always been a sucker for historical novels and wartime novels, so it was the best of both worlds for me.

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emilycoc
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Taking advantage of a warm September 30th to sit outside. ❤️

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emilycoc
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Been a minute for me. Finally taking the time to pick up a new book. I found this when perusing a bookstore in early April this year and it spoke to me. #booknineof2021

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Nitpickyabouttrains
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Pickpick

Historical fiction about the queen Elizabeth‘s mother (also queen Elizabeth) and her time before and during wwii.

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a.bookish.byrd
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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MicrobeMom
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Mehso-so

I finished this one on a very humid walk today. I would say it was just ok. Highly repetitive and with no lot. However, the Anglophile in me, liked the tone and setting. #audiowalk

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PathfinderNicole
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It‘s new book Tuesday! Used curbside pickup at my local B&N to get three new beauties but this is the one I‘m most excited about! Seriously I have been counting down the days to it 😂.

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Roxanareads
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Lovely ARC bookmail - The Queen's Secret release date 4/20 👑 #thequeenssecret#karenharper#williammorrow#bookmailisthebestmail#Goodreadswin#arcbook #ARC