Before the Crown by Flora Harding

I’ve always loved historical fiction books about our monarchy but this particularly piqued my interest as firstly, I loved The Crown on Netflix, and secondly, it’s about our current Queen which I found doubly fascinating.

Before the crown there was a love story…
Windsor Castle, 1943
As war rages across the world, Princess Elizabeth comes face to face with the dashing naval officer she first met in London nine years before.
One of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy, Philip represents everything she has always been taught to avoid. Instability. Audacity. Adventure.
But when the king learns of their relationship, the suitability of the foreign prince is questioned by all at court.
He is the risk she has never been allowed to take. The risk not even the shadow of the crown will stop her from taking…

I loved this book – it was part romance, part history and part drama, three of my favourite genres! It was definitely different to the previous historical fiction I’ve read as I was conscious the whole way through that this was the Queen we all know, who is still very much alive. So it was odd at first, trying to link the character in the book with the stoic Queen we’ve all seen on TV. But I got more and more into it as the book went on, desperately rooting for Elizabeth and Phillip (even though I knew they weren’t the perfect couple) and fascinated to see this perspective of a younger Elizabeth.

I think the pace of this worked really well – it’s not meant to be a fast-paced drama but it allows enough time for the reader to connect with both Elizabeth and Phillip before moving the plot on. Both characters were well-written with chapters alternating between their perspectives so as readers we’re able to get to know both of them. Elizabeth’s controlled nature was very well represented and I was urging her to reveal some of her emotion to Phillip. Phillip on the other hand, was exactly as I expected him to be. He was restless, mischievous and reluctant to conform.

The insight into the protocols and rules of the royal household was excellent and I also thought it connected well with the tv show The Crown, despite that not necessarily being the intention. For fans of anything regarding our current Queen, this book fits in really nicely. It’s clearly written, easy to follow, but full of the drama and romance I expected. I’d definitely recommend this for fans of historical fiction!

Before the Crown
Flora Harding
One More Chapter, 17th September 2020

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