A historical and cleverly-fictionalized look at the inner-life of a British Princess – Louise Caroline Alberta – born in 1848 as the sixth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (deceased when this story begins) – an accomplished sculptor, patron of the arts, and yes, champion of love and freedom at a time when royalty, culture, and societal expectations allowed someone in her position anything but.
Princess Louise’s story, rich with longing for a life always just outside her grasp, is fascinating, providing a rarely-seen lens into the stultifying obligations held by royal progeny, perhaps all the more extreme under the somewhat malicious and always suffocating watch of widowed Queen Victoria (a woman whose amorous hypocrisy with her own commoner-manservant is more than hinted at between these pages).
As Louise grows from rebellious teen to young woman seeking fulfillment in both artistic and impassioned endeavors, her life at court seems to afford far more hurdles than helpmates – with politics, critics, and a slew of watchful and spite-fueled observers greeting her at home and in the public arena.
A woman of strength, intelligence and conviction, Louise’s journey is a fascinating one – a sweeping look at a personal battle fought in the name of liberalism, feminism, and love – much of it waged indirectly and increasingly with stealth (despite the books title).
An absorbing, tantalizing and even educational read (centering on a perhaps little-known historical figure), this book charmed me as it held my interest, deep into the evening, a perfect read (no spoilers here) for a snowy Canadian afternoon.
A great big thank you to @HarperCollinsCA for an ARC of this book. All thoughts provided are my own.