Synopses & Reviews
After decades of service and years of watching her family's troubles splashed across the tabloids, Britain's Queen is beginning to feel her age. An unexpected opportunity offers her relief: an impromptu visit to a place that holds happy memories—the former royal yacht, Britannia
, now moored near Edinburgh. Hidden beneath a skull-emblazoned hoodie, the limber Elizabeth (thank goodness for yoga) walks out of Buckingham Palace and heads for King's Cross to catch a train to Scotland. But a colorful cast of royal attendants has discovered her missing. In uneasy alliance a lady-in-waiting, a butler, an equerry, a girl from the stables, a dresser, and a clerk from the shop that supplies Her Majesty's cheese set out to bring her back before her absence becomes a national scandal.
Comic and poignant, fast-paced and clever, Mrs Queen Takes the Train tweaks the pomp of the monarchy, going beneath its rigid formality to reveal the human heart of the woman at its center.
“Youll come away thinking Her Majesty, at least this fictional one, charming, caring, thoughtful and brave. . . . A delightful escape. We can only hope there are more train rides in Her Majestys future.” USA Today
“[A] charmer of a first novel. . . . This Elizabeth is delightful, slyly funny company. Youll never look at the real one the same way again.” People (3 ½ stars)
“Poignant and sweet, MRS QUEEN TAKES THE TRAIN is a comic study of the British class system, an unusual testament to the possibilities of friendship outside normal comfort zones and an affirmation of the humanity within all of us.” Richmond Times-Dispatch
“A delightful read, a bit of fiction (the train journey) set into nonfiction (everything else), and a sly look at how the monarchy is changing along withor maybe two beats behindthe rest of Britain.” Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A witty, contemporary story of the Downton Abbey-esque tensions between servants and employers, the young and the old, and tradition and modernity.” Glamour.com
“This book is the perfect cup of tea for the year of the Queens Diamond Jubilee. Give it to lovers of all things British. Its also a good bet for fans of Alexander McCall Smith.” Booklist
“Kuhn explores not only the queens inner life, but the Downtown Abbey style-tensions between servants and royals, the old guard and the new. . . . Royal watchers and students of class alike will enjoy this smart. . . tale.” Publishers Weekly
“Kuhns first novel ought to find an avid readership among the filmgoers who flocked to The Kings Speech and The Queen. . . . An affectionate, sympathetic but also unstinting look at the woman inside the sovereign.” Kirkus
An absolute delight of a debut novel by William Kuhn—author of Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books—Mrs Queen Takes the Train wittily imagines the kerfuffle that transpires when a bored Queen Elizabeth strolls out of the palace in search of a little fun, leaving behind a desperate team of courtiers who must find the missing Windsor before a national scandal erupts. Reminiscent of Alan Bennetts The Uncommon Reader, this lively, wonderfully inventive romp takes readers into the mind of the grand matriarch of Britains Royal Family, bringing us an endearing runaway Queen Elizabeth on the town—and leading us behind the Buckingham Palace walls and into the upstairs/downstairs spaces of Englands monarchy.
About the Author
William Kuhn is a biographer and historian, and the author, most recently, of Reading Jackie, a look at the personality of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis through the books she chose to edit at Viking and Doubleday. He has written three previous books: Democratic Royalism; Henry and Mary Ponsonby, a double biography of two key people at the court of Queen Victoria; and The Politics of Pleasure, a life of Britain's most royalist prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts. This is his first novel.