My new historical novel is published in Britain and America this August. Its UK title is THE GOVERNESS and it is published in the USA as THE ROYAL GOVERNESS. As you can see from the banner above, and the covers below, the two editions look distinctly, beautifully, different. But the story is the same, and an absolutely amazing one:
In 1933, a progressive young teacher, Marion Crawford, becomes governess to little Princess Elizabeth and her sister Margaret. Inside the castles and palaces she finds a family frozen in time. Determined to give her pupils a fun and normal childhood, she takes the princesses on tubes and buses, swimming at public baths and Christmas shopping at Woolworth’s.
During her seventeen years at the heart of the royal family, ‘Crawfie’ occupies a ringside seat at some of the most seismic events of the twentieth century. The drama of the Abdication, the glamour of the Coronation, the trauma of World War Two. When Elizabeth first sets eyes on Philip, Crawfie is there.
But such devotion demands sacrifice, a personal life put on permanent hold. And Crawfie’s dedication counts for nothing once she publishes The Little Princesses, a loving, harmless account of life as a royal governess. It earns Marion the Windsors’ lasting fury…
Her story, glamorous, dramatic and tragic by turns, shines a captivating light into the world’s most famous family as never before or since. It is also the story of the building of a Queen. Basing her fiction on Marion Crawford’s own accounts, plus a wide range of historical sources and her own imagination, Wendy Holden weaves a majestic tale of love, sacrifice and allegiance.
‘Never has the future of the Royal Family been more hotly debated. But The Queen has been the world’s most successful monarch. Is her sure touch all down to the spirited young teacher who brought the real world to her remote royal childhood? Maybe so. Yet Marion ‘Crawfie’ Crawford was banished by the Royals forever following a minor indiscretion. When I found her extraordinary story, I knew it was the novel I had to write.’ WENDY HOLDEN
For more about what inspired the book, go to ABOUT ME
Praise for The Governess/Royal Governess
‘A beautifully woven and exquisitely detailed story of strong upstairs/downstairs women whose lives entwine during some of the most significant periods of modern British history… I am in awe of Wendy Holden.’ HEATHER MORRIS, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz
‘Beautifully researched and captivating… Wendy’s Holden’s tender and intimate portrait of ‘Lilibet’, the future Queen Elizabeth II, is masterly.’ RACHEL HORE, author of Last Letter Home
‘Compelling characters and a wonderful blend of historical accuracy and real narrative drive… a heartbreaking study of loyalty and love.’ SALLY MORRIS, Daily Mail
‘A brilliantly imagined and poignant novel… a story of sacrifice, deep affection, strained loyalties and divided English society in the post-Downton Abbey era. Having set herself a huge challenge, Wendy Holden has triumphed.’ ELIZABETH BUCHAN, author of The New Mrs Clifton
‘A great book for escaping into…I loved this!’ KATIE FFORDE, author of A Summer At Sea
Wendy Holden absolutely delivers in this perfect blend of story and history. THE ROYAL GOVERNESS is a fabulous read for not only for devotees of period fiction and the British Royals, but anyone with a hunger for a well-crafted tale. Lovers of The Crown series on Netflix will adore this! SUSAN MEISSNER, Bestselling author of The Last Year of the War
“An intimate view of the royal family at a time of great uncertainty and change, The Royal Governess is a beautifully written and richly detailed piece of historical fiction. Marion Crawford’s dedication to her charges, as well as her passion for education and reform, shines through the pages. Through her eyes, the reader is transported back in time and thoroughly immersed in the lives of the British royal family. A delightful read!” CHANEL CLEETON, New York Times bestselling author of When we Left Cuba
‘This is a wonderful book. Masterfully weaving seismic historical events with one woman's personal story, The Governess is cinematic in its scope, and yet always intimate, a moving, gorgeously written page-turner. We peek behind the Windsor's swagged silk curtains - the insider details are a total delight - but the story's beating heart belongs to the devoted royal governess, Crawfie. Holden takes the reader on a glittering, unforgettable journey. I absolutely loved it.’ EVE CHASE, author of Black Rabbit Hall, The Glass House
‘Sensitive, funny and fascinating - this masterful novel gives the reader fly-on-the-wall privileges into the early life of the Queen.’ FREYA NORTH author of The Turning Point