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Princesses
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About the Author

Flora Fraser is the author of Beloved Emma: The Life of Emma, Lady Hamilton and The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline. She lives in London with her husband and three children.

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King George III of England (1760-1820) and his queen, Charlotte, had 15 children, among them six daughters, on whom Fraser (The Unruly Queen) focuses her family portrait. She depicts royals who attempted to live a rather homey life, but were torn both by the king's famous madness and by complex political and affectionate alliances within the family itself. Fraser has a great source that she uses extensively: the prolific and elegant letters of Charlotte and her daughters. Their correspondence reveals personalities and daily details that attach the reader to their lives. The letters are at times less informative than suggestive; over-reliance on them contributes a wandering quality to the narrative and too many precious tidbits that Fraser apparently couldn't bear to leave out. She also tends to set up situations that take too long to play out, the most significant being the onset of George's madness. The madness, though, is at the center of the women's lives: it not only helped weaken the monarchy further, it wrecked a happy marriage, created rifts out of family tensions and contributed to only three of George's talented daughters marrying, and then too late in life to have children, while two others triggered scandal with their affairs. It's a sad and fascinating story. 24 pages of color illus. Agent, Jonathan Lloyd. (Apr. 8) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Adult/High School-This intimate, fascinating portrait begins in 1766 with the birth of the eldest daughter, Charlotte, and concludes in 1857 with the funeral of the youngest, Mary. Handsome, educated, and talented, the princesses were eagerly sought as brides by European royalty. George III was thwarted by obstinate government ministers; irritated by his feckless, extravagant brothers; and betrayed by his disobedient sons. His greatest source of happiness was the domestic peace created by his adoring daughters. He had no intention of parting with them. The princesses remained at home, writing wistful letters to their brothers, who were setting up their own households, touring the continent, or embarking on military careers. The turbulent years encompassing the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Napoleonic Wars added to the king's illnesses and diverted the attention of the royal parents away from their daughters. Forbidden love affairs began. Using the princesses' voluminous correspondence, Fraser allows them to tell much of their stories in their own words. Although the cast of characters is initially overwhelming, each individual emerges as complex and sympathetic. A genealogical chart and 39 reproductions of paintings and engravings, most of them in color, are included. This is not a book for readers who enjoy light, contemporary novels about princesses. It is also not a comprehensive history of the era. Its focus is on the daily lives of six intelligent, strong-minded women during an extraordinary age. Serious readers will find much to admire and ponder.-Kathy Tewell, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"A rich and richly hued Regency tale. . . . Fraser is splendidly at home in the 18th century."
-The New York Times Book Review

"Remarkably intimate. . . . Full and revealing. . . . Princesses opens an invaluable new window into the often troubled private world of these royal women."
-Los Angeles Times

"Riveting and wonderfully detailed. . . . Thanks to Flora Fraser's new book, George III's daughters can step out of the shadows of history and take their rightful places with the rest of the House of Hanover."
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The Washington Times

"Memorable. . . . Compelling and poignant. . . . With elegant felicity, Fraser paints a picture out of Jane Austen." -Vogue

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