Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Humble Companion by Laurie Graham

 Book Summary
Meet Nellie Welche - companion to royalty and keeper of secrets ... Nellie Welche is the daughter of a high-ranking steward in the household of Prinnie, Prince of Wales. In 1788, at the age of twelve, she's proposed as a suitably humble companion to Princess Sophia, one of George III's enormous brood of children. Nellie and Sofy become friends for life. From the first rumblings of revolution in France to the exciting, modern times of gas light and steam trains, from poor mad George to safe and steady Victoria, Nellie is the sharp-penned narrator of a changing world and the unchanging, cloistered lives of Princess Sofy and her sisters. Nellie proves to be more a hawk-eyed witness than a Humble Companion, as her memoir lifts the lid on the House of Hanover's secrets and lies.

Princess Sofy


A Humble Companion by Laurie Graham is a novel about the Royal Family in the 18th to 19th centuries, from the reign of King George III to Queen Victoria. The story begins in 1788. Nellie Welche is a twelve year old girl with a horrible birthmark on her face. She lives a comfortable life home in Soho with her parents. Her father, a chef for the household of the Prince of Wales, suggests to the King that Nellie might make a suitable companion to nine year old Princess Sophia, the daughter of King George III and Queen Charlotte.

King George III

Queen Charlotte

Queen Victoria

Nellie is thrust into the opulent, but restrictive world of the royal children. As the girls grow up together, they experience life together, love, marriage, childbirth, and death. Nellie soon comes to understand that a privileged, glamorous life as a member of the royal family is not as desirable as she once thought.

Author Laurie Graham skilfully inter-weaves an interesting tale through the turbulence of the 18th century, a time of extreme suffering, restrictions, poverty, and privilege. I thoroughly enjoyed the contrast between Nellie's independence and the restrictions Sofy must learn to live within. This is definitely a character driven novel with a strong vein of historical fact woaven throughout. For this reason, I found the characters and story very believable, informative, and realistic in every way. I especially enjoyed the way the author dealt with King George's fluctuations between madness and coherent stability - respectful and touching, especially how it impacted his wife and family. For anyone who loves novels about the English Royalty who want a factual, realistic portrayal, then this is definitely a book to get. Extremely enjoyable.

From History and Women


Anna Sonata said...

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Mirella Patzer said...

Thank you for commenting, Anna!