Mrs Queen Takes the Train
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Mrs Queen Takes the Train

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  2,269 ratings  ·  668 reviews
An absolute delight of a debut novel by William Kuhn—author of Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in BooksMrs Queen Takes the Train wittily imagines the kerfuffle that transpires when a bored Queen Elizabeth strolls out of the palace in search of a little fun, leaving behind a desperate team of courtiers who must find the missing Windsor before a national scandal erupts. R...more
ebook, 228 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Harper (first published 2012)
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Mo
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 and have her...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
Greg
Nov 16, 2012 Greg rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition 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
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
Erin
Mar 01, 2013 Erin rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition 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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
Rebecca Huston
Dec 18, 2012 Rebecca Huston rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rebecca by: Susan
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
Melyssa
What a clever idea for a story. I enjoyed this imaginative take on what might happen if the Queen were to wander off on an unscheduled journey.

Though the story was mostly light, each of the characters were struggling with something, which gives the book some weight. I actually worried a bit about the Queen while she was away from the palace.

I recently read a bio of Queen Elizabeth so I could tell some elements of the Queen's real life are included. However I don't know if she actually practices...more
Tops
It wasn't what I expected....maybe the Queen doing some break dancing etc, but I thoroughly enjoyed it for what it was. You can almost smell the innocence of regal horsiness under the 'hoody' ( the images are awesome) as Her Majesty, get's the hell out there and does what she has probably wanted to do for so much of her life!! All I can say is that I hope she gets to read it and realise that people do see her as a normal human being with a wicked sense of humour. But I have to say, it broke my h...more
Andrew
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

Reading this charming book was a true pleasure. The author made The Queen feel more like a caring grandmother, than the ruling monarch that we all see on the television. A lot of research must have been done to get the right feel to make The Queen feel alive. Especially the things we will never get to really see The Queen doing, like using the computer and doing yoga. Also the characters that are interwoven in the story are like old frie...more
University of Chicago Magazine
William Kuhn, AB'79
Author

From our pages (Nov–Dec/12): "In his novel, William Kuhn conjures a modern adventure for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, a monarch emboldened by her yoga practice and searching for meaning beyond the walls of Buckingham Palace. Disguised in a hooded sweatshirt, Mrs. Queen catches a train at King’s Cross in hopes of visiting the decommissioned family yacht Britannia, now a floating tourist trap off the coast of Scotland. Pursuing Her Royal Highness are the first-generation B...more
Julia Tracey
Delightful. Thanks to Nick Petrulakis for suggesting this book. Loved it. I love the voice of the Queen, and the fun and charming characters who surround her, literally, as courtiers. My only concern is that the emphasis on current (2012) technology and trends, like Twitter, cell phones, etc., will make this book feel very dated in a few years, and difficult to read. The books by Robert B Parker, on Spenser for Hire, suffer from the same issue -- very locked in the early 1980s, and hard to read...more
Lisa
A light and lively novel that will be particularly enjoyed by Anglophiles and those who know a Little Bit (ha!) about the British monarchy.

The Queen and the major events of her life are (of course) nonfiction, but the story and supporting characters are all lovely fictionalized elements. I'd love to see The Queen doing yoga, or talking about Helen Mirren's portrayal of Herself. The novel also explores some heavier issues of race and class and economic disparity, but again in a lighthearted way....more
Theresa
Light, delightful read imagining the wanderings of QE2 by train along with the cast of characters in charge of protecting her, with everything tied up neatly in the end.
Maria Carrig
A delight from beginning to end.
Mark Shannon
This was a different type of book for me, as I usually read suspense and mystery fiction. But I enjoyed it. The details of the queen's daily life and the stories of the people who surround her in the Household were interesting and I was caught up in their stories as well as that of the queen.

When the queen decides to take a trip to Scotland on a whim, the members of her staff and the security services are put on scramble alert. As she makes her way from a cheese shop to a taxi and onto the titu...more
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