Over the past few years I've realized that I have a love for historical fiction but not just any old historical fiction but books that are based on real historical people with a fictional twist. In the past I've read Mr. Dickens & His Carol, Once Upon a Wardrobe, and The Editor, all based upon real people with a fictional twist or a retelling. 

When I stumbled upon the book The People's Princess by Flora Harding in my Netgalley queue, I knew I had to read it. A historical fiction story with Princess Diana at the center of it is everything I have ever wanted and more.

I gobbled this book up in a few days time and it left me feeling so sad. I learned so much and it was fun to imagine you being in Princess Diana's head leading up to her wedding day but knowing how the story ends, what could've been just upset me so much.

Despite that, I loved the book so let's get into the review.

Publisher's Summary

Buckingham Palace, 1981

Her engagement to Prince Charles is a dream come true for Lady Diana Spencer but marrying the heir to the throne is not all that it seems. Alone and bored in the palace, she resents the stuffy courtiers who are intent on instructing her about her new role as Princess of Wales…

But when she discovers a diary written in the 1800s by Princess Charlotte of Wales, a young woman born into a gilded cage so like herself, Diana is drawn into the story of Charlotte’s reckless love affairs and fraught relationship with her father, the Prince Regent.

As she reads the diary, Diana can see many parallels with her own life and future as Princess of Wales.

The story allows a behind-the-scenes glimpse of life in the palace, the tensions in Diana’s relationship with the royal family during the engagement, and the wedding itself.

My Thoughts

Excuse my ignorance but I never really thought about the previous Princess of Wales before Diana. It never dawned on me to go back in history and look at the ladies who have held that title in the past. I read this book at an interesting time since Catherine just became the new Princess of Wales so the title conversation is fresh in my mind.

Having this novel go back and forth between Diana before she becomes the Princess and Charlotte (another nod to the current royal family) another Princess of Wales was so interesting and such a wonderful idea for a novel. Having Diana read Charlotte's diary and learn how she overcame the struggles to find love, have a child, and become the princess and queen she was always meant to be added a lot to the story versus having the story just go between past and present in a normal way. 

It was really heartbreaking to be inside of Diana's *fictional* mind but so interesting. I think being inside the mind of anyone is interesting but to have it be one of the most famous women in history is just beyond. I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn't real and that it is completely fictional - we don't even know if Diana had Princess Charlotte's diary.

While I loved reading from Diana's POV, I found Charlotte's story even more interesting because I had no idea who she was or what her story was. It was very eye opening to learn about a different royal family and it made me sad because Princess Charlotte's deserved more out of her life. Reading about this pre Windsor royal family aka before King George VI made me want to read and learn more.

Spoiler alert: Charlotte doesn't make it and when Diana comes to that realization the night before her own wedding, I got a chill down my spine and bursted into tears. If only she knew, if only we all knew what was going to happen to Diana during her marriage to Charles. It felt like ugly foreshadowing but added such a depth to the book that made it so wonderful. It was also 

My obsession with Princess Diana and the royal family is well documented and to read fiction instead of watching documentaries or The Crown was a refreshing change of pace. If you love the royals, if you love historical fiction, you will love The People's Princess. 


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