Sunday, July 3, 2011

Untold Story

I have to confess a frisson of excitement at the thought of Monica Ali's new book, Untold Story.  I really enjoyed Ali's first book, Brick Lane, though I have to confess I haven't read her other two, Alentejo Blue & In the Kitchen (though they are on my ever-growing list!).  However, her new novel has topped the list because of its subject matter-Princess Diana, a favorite subject of mine.

The Booklist review explains: "What if Princess Diana hadn't died tragically in Paris but instead had found a way to escape the unrelenting scrutiny she lived with on a daily basis? That question is the premise of Ali's new novel, which revolves around a fictional Princess of Wales whose life mirrors Diana's. Divorced from the prince, separated from her sons, and hounded by the paparazzi, Ali's princess fakes her own death with the help of her devoted private secretary, who is afflicted with an incurable brain tumor. Reinventing herself as Lydia Snaresbrook, the princess flees England for the U.S., eventually landing in Kensington, North Carolina, where she starts to build a life for herself."

This novel seems very timely, with the princess' son's wedding last May & the 50th anniversary of her birth just passed on July 1st.  If you are interested in reading about the life of Princess Diana (technically Diana, Princess of Wales), try a subject search.  There are a smattering of fiction titles involving the princess, including: The Accident Man by Tom Cain; His Lovely Wife by Elizabeth Dewberry; Di & I by Peter Lefcourt; & Sue Townsend's hilarious spoof (somewhat bittersweet after Princess Diana's untimely demise), The Queen & I.

Also, if you like to read fictionlized accounts of the royal family, Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader is a treat, imagining the Queen taking up reading after an unplanned visit to her local bookmobile.

See reviews for The Untold Story & more on Monica Ali's website.

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