The Queen's Secret: A Novel of England's World War II Queen

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Author: 
Harper, Karen

If you love Jennifer Robson or The Crown you will love New York Times bestselling author Karen Harper's novel about Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.

1939. As the wife of the King George VI and the mother of the future queen, Elizabeth-"the queen mother"-shows a warm, smiling face to the world. But it's no surprise that Hitler himself calls her the "Most Dangerous Woman in Europe." For behind that soft voice and kindly demeanor is a will of steel.

Two years earlier, George was thrust onto the throne when his brother Edward abdicated, determined to marry his divorced, American mistress Mrs. Simpson. Vowing to do whatever it takes to make her husband's reign a success, Elizabeth endears herself to the British people, and prevents the former king and his brazen bride from ever again setting foot in Buckingham Palace.

Elizabeth holds many powerful cards, she's also hiding damaging secrets about her past and her provenance that could prove to be her undoing.

In this riveting novel of royal secrets and intrigue, Karen Harper lifts the veil on one of the world's most fascinating families, and how its "secret weapon" of a matriarch maneuvered her way through one of the most dangerous chapters of the century.

Discussion Guide: 

1. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to
"get into it"? How did you feel reading it—amused,
sad, disturbed, confused, bored...?


2. Describe the main characters—personality traits, motivations, and inner qualities.
• Why do characters do what they do?
• Are their actions justified?
• Describe the dynamics between characters (in a
   marriage, family, or friendship).
• How has the past shaped their lives?
• Do you admire or disapprove of them?
• Do they remind you of people you know?


3. Are the main characters dynamic—changing or maturing by the end of the book? Do they learn about themselves, how the world works and their role in it?


4. Discuss the plot:
• Is it engaging—do you find the story interesting?
• Is this a plot-driven book—a fast-paced page-turner?
• Does the plot unfold slowly with a focus on character?
• Were you surprised by complications, twists & turns?
• Did you find the plot predictable, even formulaic?


5. Talk about the book's structure.
• Is it a continuous story...or interlocking short stories?
• Does the time-line move forward chronologically?
• Does time shift back & forth from past to present?
• Is there a single viewpoint or shifting viewpoints?
• Why might the author have chosen to tell the story
   the way he or she did?
• What difference does the structure make in the way
   you read or understand the book?


6. What main ideas—themes—does the author explore? (Consider the title, often a clue to a theme.) Does the author use symbols to reinforce the main ideas? (See our free LitCourses on both Symbol and Theme.)


7. What passages strike you as insightful, even profound? Perhaps a bit of dialog that's funny or poignant or that encapsulates a character? Maybe there's a particular comment that states the book's thematic concerns?


8. Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not...and how would you change it?


9. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask? Have you read other books by the same author? If so how does this book compare. If not, does this book inspire you to read others?


10. Has this novel changed you—broadened your perspective? Have you learned something new or been exposed to different ideas about people or a certain part of the world?

 

(Questions by LitLovers)