Mrs. Queen Takes the Train
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Mrs. Queen Takes the Train

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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  2,819 ratings  ·  794 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. She needs some proper cheering up. 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-emblazone...more
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 1996)
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Mo
2 1/2 stars

I was EXCITED to read this novel. I EXPECTED to like this novel. I WANTED to like this novel. I did not like this novel.

If you’ll pardon the seasonal analogy, this book was like being given a beautifully wrapped Christmas present, only to open it up and find… socks :(

First, you have to understand something about me. I am a rabid Anglophile. If I am reading a romance set in Miami where the heroine is strutting around in a bathing suit, ho-hum. But put that same heroine in a crinoline...more
Marianne
Mrs Queen Takes The Train is the first novel by American biographer, historian, author and self-confessed Anglophile, William Kuhn. Not feeling quite her usual self, The Queen pops down to the Mews to check on Elizabeth, the mare born on her own birthday. Then, in a hoodie borrowed from Rebecca, the young stable lass, she sets off to Paxton and Whitfield to get some of the mare’s favourite cheddar, before heading to King’s Cross station. The Royal Yacht Britannia is moored up in Leith, and she f...more
Jennifer Rayment
The Good Stuff

Delightfully odd and uniquely refreshing
Richly developed unusual characters who feel very real
Makes you realize that the Queen is a living human being and not just a figure head (yes this is a fictionalized version of the Queen - but still)
Discusses race & class differences but in a non preachy in your face sort of way - almost light and playful - but at the same time makes you see the absurdity of judging someone based on race or class (Hope that makes sense probably shoul...more
Angie
What would happen if the Queen of England left the palace one rainy day, unnoticed, to walk a few blocks for a bit of cheese? And then took a train to Edinburgh? And what does this have to do with Henry V? This charming story answers these questions, and more; easy to read but not exactly lightweight, funny and moving, will make a great movie.

** Please support your local independent bookstore when buying this book! Buying from Amazon.com hurts your local economy. If you don't know where to go, c...more
Judy
Well this was a really delightful little find. I can not remember which of my friends recommended this to me, but thank you anyway.

It is a sweetly heartwarming tale of a few fictitious days in the life of the modern monarch. And I will add here that I am no dyed in the wool monarchist, not by a long shot. Oh how I wish that this was a true mini biography. It brings to us an elderly lady who has always done her duty and now finds herself reflecting that she is not really appreciated for that, no...more
Greg
Nov 16, 2012 Greg rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fellow Anglophiles
Recommended to Greg by: my Anglophilia
It's like that movie Baby's Day Out (1994), or, less flippantly, Roman Holiday (1953), also Chasing Liberty (2004), man they do this kind of thing a surprising lot in the movies.

Why wasn't this released during the Olympics when people were Anglo-jonesing? Or right after, when they had the Anglo-munchies? This far out, I think we're all just Anglo-over-it. Except for me. I'm an Anglo-slut. And no, I do not think I'm clever or creative.

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train is such a cute book. I mean the Que...more
Erin
Mar 01, 2013 Erin rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Jan Karon fans
Trite. Shallow. Silly.

I wanted to like this book. I was on a streak of anglophile reading, and I was looking for something light and charming. But this book was devoid of charm and humor which is a cardinal sin when writing this type of book. Making the Queen a bit of an out of touch, dithering old lady just seemed silly to me, not funny. Characters in the book reference both the movie The Queen and the book Uncommon Reader. Both works that are superior to this one.

For the most part the book foc...more
Susan Johnson
Things have gotten in a rut for Elizabeth, Queen of England, and the prime minister has just told her that her royal train is to be sold. Frustrated by the unfairness of it, after all she has lost her plane and yacht, she decides to go somewhere where she has spent some happy times. She decides to visit the royal yacht, Britannia, moored near Edinburgh. Not used to travelling on her own and disguised by a skull and crossbones hoodie, Elizabeth sets off to do that.
It's very humorous how the Queen...more
The Bookwyrm's Hoard
Review originally published at The Bookwyrm's Hoard.

I can’t remember where I first stumbled across a mention of Mrs Queen Takes the Train, but the premise grabbed me immediately: Queen Elizabeth, who is feeling a bit depressed, decides to visit the decommissioned royal yacht Brittania, scene of many happy memories. The yacht is moored in Scotland, so The Queen* slips out incognito, makes her way with a stranger’s assistance to King’s Cross, and boards the night train to Edinburgh. She is followe...more
Chris
Though the structure makes it a bit difficult to follow, Kuhn delivers a comic and touching fabricated day in the life of Queen Elizabeth II. But this is no normal day. The Queen is feeling a bit sad and decides, quite suddenly, to travel to a place that once brought her happiness. The Queen's unusual (and alarming) absence brings together six unlikely people from all walks of life whose personal histories are revealed in stories from the past as well as the present. Paired off in uneasy allianc...more
Lucy
If a cup of tea ever manifested itself as a book, it would be this one. It is warm, comforting, and the perfect thing to make a bad day better. I loved it and have nothing negative to say about it at all. (I did find the character Rebecca to be a little inconsistent, but perhaps I just need to read it again to understand her better.) This book is utterly charming and I have thoroughly enjoyed every word of it. Mrs Queen Takes The Train is a book I would heartily recommend to everyone because it...more
Margaret Sankey
Feeling down, Elizabeth II impulsively sets off for Leith to see the Royal Yacht, disguised just enough in a hoodie to see London without the streets being cleared and without a filter between her and her people. As palace staff begin to realize the magnitude of her disappearance, they give chase, leading a six-person political, ethnic and class cross-section of multi-cultural 21st century Britain who believe their only commonality to be loyalty to the Queen to discover deep connections and symp...more
Henri Moreaux
I picked this up after reading a positive review from one of my friends here on Goodreads (Yes, Melinda, you) and am pleased to say I enjoyed it quite a lot.

It's a unique story that's for sure - Queen Elizabeth II impulsively sets off on a train journey across the United Kingdom whilst feeling sombre and during the journey reflects upon her life and comes to a few realisations.

It's good to see more books touching on mental illness (specially depression in this case) which don't typecast the suf...more
Nessa Flax
If you've ever wondered if Her Majesty The Queen gets melancholy and needs a break from her royal duties, this delightful book is for you. Given author Kuhn's background as a biographer and historian, one suspects there as much truth as fiction in this novel that follows the UK's Queen Elizabeth on a clandestine walkabout that sends her closest staff members into a panic. Set 10 years after Princess Diana's death, we meet The Queen at a vulnerable time when she questions her worth to her people...more
David
This was a book club selection, so I had no choice but to read it. What a surprise! I expected it to be rather trite, but found it instead to be quite touching.

The Queen, feeling melancholy, essentially wanders off on her own to make her way to Scotland to visit the decommissioned Royal Yacht Britannia in the hopes of rekindling some pleasant memories. Six people, all but one connected with the royal household, pair off in pursuit to retrieve her and ensure her safety. This isn't merely about th...more
Ally Wampler
Curl up with a cuppa, watch the snow fall and prepare to be delighted.

It's not a must read, or even a very good read, it was just a nice simple tale for a nice simple day.

god save the queen and her train.
Susan
This is a delightful novel. While it's fiction, you have to wonder if The Queen ever would like to break out from her daily confines and responsibilities to set upon such an adventure. Normal mundane activities like taking the subway and shopping without being recognized are likely not possible for the real Queen. William Kuhn's portrayal of the rigid formality of the monarch and the government, the pecking order of those who serve vs. the common folk is wonderful.
Maria
This book is ridiculous. Ridiculously fun.

I bought this book thinking it was a work of nonfiction, because I was in a rush and the $1.99 Kindle deal seemed appealing. The first twenty pages, I must admit, takes quite some work. But once you get through, and are able to catch up with the book's pace and arrangement, it's not very difficult to enjoy.

I found this very fun because I'm a "boring academic" type whose favorite subjects include modern British history and the U.S. Presidents (I don't kno...more
Lis
So much fun. Kuhn clearly understands the royal family. He includes so many small, wonderful details, and really has a grasp on how The Queen might feel.

The only part I did not like was the "love affair" between Rebecca and Rajiv. The author seems to have no idea at all how to convincingly write chemistry between men and women. Every word Rajiv says to Rebecca is either creepy, icky, or awkward...and it makes zero sense that she would respond at all positively. The sections with the two of them...more
Gwen
This delightful story envisions HRH feeling a bit low. Inadvertently disguised in a hoodie, lent her by Rebecca, in the horse barn, she somewhat disappears, making her way to Edinburgh to revisit a ship that made her happy. Her train companions are quite innocent of her identity, although it may help that two of them are blind, and one a young man. In her transit, however, she is stealthily followed by Rebecca and "the young man from the cheese shop," who is both interested in Rebecca and feelin...more
Seth
I loved this book. It made me chuckle and I fell in love with all the characters.
Lindsey
This book was absolutely phenomenal. I honestly never wanted it to end! It's such a clever, well-written story that one minute will be pulling at your heart strings, and the next minute will have you laughing out loud. I grew so attached to the characters, particularly to the members of The Queen's staff/household. The inclusion of my favorite Shakespeare play, Henry V, was also a really nice touch. Really good read for any fellow Anglophiles out there! Now all we need is a sequel, because I'm q...more
Cheryl A
It takes a lot of chutzpa to write about a living monarch, in this case, Queen Elizabeth II. To treat this icon in a respectable manner while still presenting a complex character takes skill. This book has both.

The Queen is a bit in the dumps lately. Despite a long running, highly regarded job - Monarch of the British Empire - The Queen is having doubts about herself, the job, her family. In an effort to improve her mood, she tries yoga, walks with the dogs, tries to learn the internet - but not...more
Sarah Witter
Oh dear, I wanted to like this book. I bought this book for my mother. She loves everything English. On the possibility that I would also enjoy it, I decided to read it first. I think there will be two of us that are disappointed. I recognized that the title was cute, maybe a bit too cute. The book continues that was. Just too cute for my liking. Can't imagine in a million years that any part of this could happen. Maybe an Englishman should have been consulted. I also imagine the book will never...more
Mary-ellen
I received an advance reading copy of this book and wasn't too sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised with a cleverly written, at times very funny and lighted-hearted story with a lot of charm.

The Queen going AWOL ... what a great premise for a book. I can hear the official line now "we are not amused", but I was, and at times I found myself laughing out loud! I really loved some of the characters, in particular William for his witty remarks and Rajiv for his boundless enthusiam and...more
Lynne
I really really really enjoyed this book! It was ... really clever and smart. Imagine the Queen of England gets a little depressed and decides to wander out of Buckingham palace, get to Kings Cross train station and take the public train to Edinburgh? Followed by 6 of the most unlikely group of people - a lady in waiting, her dresser, a butler, an equerry, a girl from the stables and a guy who sells cheese. Seriously. That's the premise of the story. It sounds ridiculous. And yet ... it's not. I...more
Tracey
I read about this novel in the the Shelf Awareness newsletter from 11 Dec 2012 - and while I'm not a Royal-phile, the concept sounded intriguing: Queen Elizabeth sneaks out of Buckingham Palace to visit the decomissioned royal yacht, docked in Edinburgh. A couple of minor staff members (and a cheese shop employee) discover she's gone walkabout and set out to find her and bring her back safely.

William Kuhn paints a sympathetic portrayal of a woman who has been the symbol of a country for 60+year...more
Martha Bratton
A fun fantasy about The Queen having an *off* day and a day off. Somebody's woven in so many domestic details about how Great Britain's monarchy runs. A highlight is herself being mistaken for Helen Mirren. It's not fast-paced, but neither is the monarchy. It's just a lot of fun and is kind to all the players, except Camilla P-B.
Sherri
An enjoyable "What if..." romp of entertaining, unlikely characters who band together when the Queen decides to walk out of Buckingham Palace one day without a word to anyone just to find a time and place that reminds her of past happiness. I was hoping for a bit more about the Queen and a bit less about the supporting characters.
Rebecca Huston
A very amusing, but also serious in spots, read. The Queen goes AWOL leaving plenty of mayhem in her wake, as several members of the Royal Household give chase. But there are serious notes such as racism, the perceived notions of monarchs, why royals can be useful to have about, poverty, the homeless, and isolation. There's also a few jabs at other novels about the Queen, and out of all of them, this one is the best. The author showed real knowledge about why people go into royal service and why...more
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“Let the light within me salute the light that is within you. Namaste.” 6 likes
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