Friday, 15 February 2013

A Humble Companion by Laurie Graham

Laurie Graham is known for conjuring up quirky, observant chatracters with which to tell a great story. In A Humble Companion, the narrator is Nellie, whose father is a high-ranking steward in the royal household of George III, the king history describes as mad. Young Nellie, who is badly disfigured by a birthmark, is asked to be companion to Princess Sofy, one of King George's younger daughters.

The two girls form a lifelong friendship within the strictures of court. It's a fascinating time with the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution going hammer and tongs in the background, but this novel focuses on the goings-on at court, the gossip and scandal. Nellie is a sharp-tongued observer who doesn't miss much. She witnesses not only the madness of King George, but the rise of Prinnie, the Prince of Wales, through to the arrival of Victoria.

Nellie is a terrific character and her own life, her family, her ambitions and desires are just as interesting as the 'Royalties' she describes. A Humble Companion is a wonderful book for anyone interested in history, but it is also a story about friendship and loyalty across the class system.

Posted by JAM

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A Humble Companion by Laurie Graham, 2012 

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