• An Indiscreet Princess

  • A Novel of Queen Victoria’s Defiant Daughter
  • By: Georgie Blalock
  • Narrated by: Ann Marie Gideon
  • Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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An Indiscreet Princess

By: Georgie Blalock
Narrated by: Ann Marie Gideon
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Publisher's Summary

Before Princess Margaret, before Duchess Meghan, there was Princess Louise: royal rebel.

As the fourth daughter of the perpetually in-mourning Queen Victoria, Princess Louise’s life is more a gilded prison than a fairy tale. Expected to sit quietly next to her mother with down-cast eyes, Louise vows to escape the stultifying royal court. Blessed with beauty, artistic talent, and a common touch, she creates a life outside the walled-in existence of the palace grounds by attending the National Art Training School—where she shockingly learns to sculpt nude models while falling passionately in love with famed sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm.

But even as Louise cultivates a life outside the palace, she is constantly reminded that even royal rebels must heed the call of duty—and for a princess that means marriage. Refusing to leave England, she agrees to a match with the Duke of Argyll, and although her heart belongs to another, she is determined to act out her public role perfectly, even if her private life teeters on the brink of scandal. But when a near fatal accident forces Louise back under her mother’s iron rule, she realizes she must choose: give in to the grief of lost love or find the strength to fight for her unconventional life. 

©2022 Georgie Blalock (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

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Dramatization of a Defiant Princess

“An Indiscreet Princess” is an interesting look at Princess Louise, the Duchess of Argyll. I’ve read Lucinda Hawksley’s “Queen Victoria’s Mysterious Daughter,” a biography on Princess Louise, that really opened my eyes to the scandalous life she lived. One of the primary issues that Hawksley encountered was the unavailability of Louise’s correspondence and other papers relating to her life. It was that author’s supposition that Louise’s life had been carefully guarded by the powers that be. However conjecture is a bane for a historian but a boon for an author.

Georgie Blalock’s rendering of a roughly ten year period in Louise’s life is competent. She captures the difficulties of living with a mercurial monarch and mother such as Queen Victoria. Louise, however, comes off as more whiny than rebellious at times. Many of her diatribes are repeated throughout the novel, and she doesn’t really “learn” anything until the very end of the book. I also feel that the author “played it safe” in terms of how she depicted Louise’s life. I don’t know if this was the result of heavy editing, but at times, it made for puzzling reading. For instance, when Louise and Edgar finally consummate their love for each other, it’s not even depicted. What should have been a pivotal moment in the book was reduced to a passing conversation between characters. I even backed up the book to see if I had missed something and I had not. It just seemed like a strange and anticlimactic way to handle the situation.

I do wish there had been an author’s note at the end discussing what is known about Louise’s life versus what is speculated as well as what came after the book’s end. Louise got caught up in a scandal involving Edgar Baume’s death, for instance, and it is largely due to period references to her involvement that inform us of her affair with the artist. I definitely encourage interested readers to seek out Hawksley’s biography of Louise as it is fascinating and well written.

As for this novel, it is good enough, which seems to be what passes for fiction these days. And I’m happy to read anything not involving World War II spies or resistance fighters which seems to be current trend. I’ve read Blalock’s other novels and have enjoyed them so she is definitely an author that I return to when her new releases are announced, and that’s largely due to her interest in writing about the female experience in different time periods. So I will continue to look for her books in the future.

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