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Royal Experiment    by Janice Hadlow order for
Royal Experiment
by Janice Hadlow
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2015 (2015)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Be prepared for a lengthy read (over 600 pages), but if you enjoy books about England's royal families you'll find this one fascinating. This is actually the story of a royal marriage. King George III and Queen Charlotte were an interesting couple who worked at creating a harmonious relationship. With thirteen sons and daughters, the couple certainly had their hands full if they intended to have a hand in rearing the children and providing them with some type of normal family life.

Attempting to find a balance between ruling the country and his family life, George was often pressed by the challenge. The fact that he had a revolution going on in his North American colonies and had to cope eventually with the onset of some serious mental problems, which earned him the moniker Mad King George, didn't make this task easier.

As the author explains, 'George, Charlotte and their children were the first generation of royals to be faced with the task of attempting to live a truly private life on the public stage, of reconciling the values of domesticity with the requirements of a crown.'

This isn't an easy job as these royals and those who have followed them have discovered. In fact, in many respects members of England's royal family are still grappling with trying to achieve that balance between normalcy and constantly being on a public stage.

Nicely illustrated with portraits of the major players in this family saga, this book is manageable if you read it in small increments of a chapter or two at a time. Naturally it doesn't read like a novel, but Hadlow's flowing style isn't a chore to follow either. So take your time, and once the narrative takes hold, this will be somewhat like enjoying the weekly installments of television series like Downton Abbey!

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