Reviews for Queen Charlotte

by Julia Quinn and Shonda Rhimes

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A novelization of a written-for-television story in the Bridgerton universe. Opening with a coy reminder that the novel is “fiction inspired by fact,” the story is about the first year of marriage between Charlotte Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a German princess of Moorish ancestry, and George III, king of Great Britain and Ireland. There are four narrators: George, Charlotte, the queen’s servant Bartholomew Brimsley, and the newly minted Lady Agatha Danbury. On the day of the royal wedding, a group of wealthy Black families are also awarded titles, a move designed to quell possible dissension from White aristocrats about Charlotte’s race. George, with the help of the entire royal household, has been hiding his mental illness from Charlotte. Determined to find a cure, George subjects himself to a quack doctor who tortures him physically and mentally. Lady Danbury is trying to secure the futures of the new aristocratic families by any means necessary, including trading information about the royal marriage to George’s mother in exchange for favors. Brimsley’s lover, Reynolds, is the king’s primary manservant, and the two try to protect their royal charges from the machinations and back-stabbing of the royal court. The book’s pacing is choppy, presumably following the script of the TV show, quickly cutting between scenes without much tying them together. Melodramatic and soapy, the story suggests that racism can be cured during a ball and mental illness can be cured with love, nice but ultimately empty sentiments that might play better on TV than they do in the pages of a book. Lady Danbury’s origin story is the most enjoyable subplot; she befriends the queen and helps the new class of Black aristocrats keep their titles, all while managing the challenges of being a young widow. Might appeal to die-hard fans of the show but offers little to the general reading audience. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.