Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon

Based on the incredible true story of one woman’s journey to the exotic world of nineteenth-century Siam, the riveting novel that inspired The King and I.
In 1862, recently widowed and with two small children to support, British schoolteacher Anna Leonowens agrees to serve as governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam (present-day Thailand), unaware that her years in the royal palace will change not only her own life, but also the future of a nation. Her relationship with King Mongkut, famously portrayed by Yul Brynner in the classic film The King and I, is complicated from the start, pitting two headstrong personalities against each other: While the king favors tradition, Anna embraces change.
As governess, Anna often finds herself at cross-purposes, marveling at the foreign customs, fascinating people, and striking landscape of the kingdom and its harems, while simultaneously trying to influence her pupils—especially young Prince Chulalongkorn—with her Western ideals and values. Years later, as king, this very influence leads Chulalongkorn to abolish slavery in Siam and introduce democratic reform based on the ideas of freedom and human dignity he first learned from his beloved tutor.
This captivating novel brilliantly combines in-depth research—author Margaret Landon drew from Siamese court records and Anna’s own writings—with richly imagined details to create a lush portrait of 1860s Siam. As a Rodgers & Hammerstein Broadway musical and an Academy Award–winning film, the story of Anna and the King of Siam has enchanted millions over the years. It is a gripping tale of cultural differences and shared humanity that invites readers into a vivid and sensory world populated by unforgettable characters.


I've always been fascinated with the story of Anna Leonowens who traveled to Siam to be a tutor for King Mongkut's children. The book is nicely written and easy to enjoy. The book is a bit controversial and it is bringing up some strong reader reaction. Why? Well because the King is not portrayed as the smart, wekll-educated, and enriched man that he was. Rather, Anna is given credit for influencing him, when it is suspected she rarely met with him.

So bearing the above in mind, and you're more into reading an entertaining story than one that is steeped in historical fact, you will find this book highly entertaining. The details of the surroundings and life in Siam during that era are stunning. So there is much to enjoy.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog,, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit

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