Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: A Royal Experiment by Janice Hadlow

The surprising, deliciously dramatic, and ultimately heartbreaking story of King George III's radical pursuit of happiness in his private life with Queen Charlotte and their 15 children

In the U.S., Britain's George III, the protagonist of A Royal Experiment, is known as the king from whom Americans won their independence and as "the mad king," but in Janice Hadlow's groundbreaking and entertaining new biography, he is another character altogether--compelling and relatable.

He was the first of Britain's three Hanoverian kings to be born in England, the first to identify as native of the nation he ruled. But this was far from the only difference between him and his predecessors. Neither of the previous Georges was faithful to his wife, nor to his mistresses. Both hated their own sons. And, overall, their children were angry, jealous, and disaffected schemers, whose palace shenanigans kick off Hadlow's juicy narrative and also made their lives unhappy ones.

Pained by his childhood amid this cruel and feuding family, George came to the throne aspiring to be a new kind of king--a force for moral good. And to be that new kind of king, he had to be a new kind of man. Against his irresistibly awful family background--of brutal royal intrigue, infidelity, and betrayal--George fervently pursued a radical domestic dream: he would have a faithful marriage and raise loving, educated, and resilient children.

The struggle of King George--along with his wife, Queen Charlotte, and their 15 children--to pursue a passion for family will surprise history buffs and delight a broad swath of biography readers and royal watchers.



Received for review.

While admittedly not light reading with 700 pages of closely printed, tiny text this is incredibly educational.  With discussions ranging from the politics of the time (most notably the independence of the United States) to his (surprisingly) happy home life to his mysterious illness in late life this provides a new view of King George III as a man and a king.

It must be stated that the author has a distinctly textbook style to her writing which makes the book a less than entertaining read.  While the topics are interesting the presentation is lacking, sucking any sort of joy from the reading experience.  Some sort of espresso drink will most likely be required while reading to keep the reader conscious.

Overall, this is a very well researched, educational book that is certain to increase your knowledge of the topic in a perhaps not entirely enjoyable way.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It



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