But it’s a fun one, isn’t it? Philip Gough is the cover artist, and this appears on a 1988 edition of Indiscretions of the Queen, a Jean Plaidy novel about George IV’s wife, Caroline of Brunswick, who died only weeks after George IV was crowned. Caroline was evidently quite the character–headstrong, flamboyant, impulsive, brash, and not overly fastidious in matters of bathing. I think the cover does a good job at suggesting Caroline’s idiosyncratic personality while not making Caroline look ridiculous or repulsive.
So does the book, for that matter. When we first meet her, Caroline is rather unappealing, displaying behavior that borders on obnoxiousness, but as the story develops we see her good traits, especially her courage, generosity of spirit, and lack of self-pity, and we start to root for her and to think that she deserved a far better hand than she was dealt. Plaidy does an excellent job with this rather unconventional heroine, making her a refreshing change from the often interchangeable beauties who populate so much historical fiction. I’m looking forward to tracking down The Regent’s Daughter, Plaidy’s novel about Caroline’s daughter, Charlotte, who promises to be another off-kilter royal.