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Queen of Bedlam

(Georgian Queens #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  582 ratings  ·  89 reviews
London 1788. The calm order of Queen Charlotte’s court is shattered by screams. The King of England is going mad. Left alone with thirteen children and with the country at war, Charlotte has to fight to hold her husband’s throne. It is a time of unrest and revolutions but most of all Charlotte fears the King himself, someone she can no longer love or trust. She has lost he ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published November 1st 2014 by Myrmidon Books Ltd (first published September 22nd 2012)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Where I got the book: purchased at a conference. Signed.

Right, I’m going to start with a story so if you don’t like reviews that contain off-topic personal digressions, skip to the next one. But I love this story and have been waiting for a chance to put it in a review.

A few years ago, when the TV show The Tudors was a hot item, I attended a writer’s conference in St. Louis. Now, I’m a US-based Brit who, despite having lived outside England for more than half my life, still has an English accent
Historical Fiction
Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Stateside we really don't learn a lot about George III. If anything he is a vague shadowy figure from our high school history books, the king who lost America, though to be completely honest I'm not sure too many people could tell you even that much off the cuff. Personally I've read histories of the American Revolution and have dim recollections of the 1994 film starring Nigel Hawthorne and Helen Mir
Nov 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent novel about the effect that George III's madness has on his queen and his family, particularly his daughters. ...more
Lisa - (Aussie Girl)
An interesting and very readable account of the lives of a little written about area of the British Monarchy, the lives of Queen Charlotte the wife of the "mad" King George III and their daughters. Piqued my interest enough to go and do a bit of research about these forgotten Princesses.

3.5 stars
Martine Bailey
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a deeply enjoyable, fast-paced account of events in the life of Queen Charlotte, the wife of ‘Mad’ King George III of England. Young British novelist, Laura Purcell has undertaken meticulous research to transform dramatic events into a historical page turner that contains much that I found new and intriguing. The story opens with skilfully evoked memories of Charlotte’s happy early years, as a newly arrived bride from a small German province, and the unlikely love and tenderness that for ...more
Cynthia Mcarthur
Dec 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a completely engrossing novel. Told from the points of view of Queen Charlotte, her daughters Princess Charlotte (called Royal in the book) and Princess Sophia, it painted a vivd portrait of this Hanoverian family beset by so much tragedy. Queen Charlotte is the beloved wife of King George, who is slowly slipping into madness. Their daughters, once happy and joyous, now needed at home to help in the struggle to keep their father sane. As the family ages, the King slips further and furth ...more
Deborah Pickstone
From the Author's note it would appear that the author wished to rehabilitate the reputation of Queen Charlotte: sadly, her story did not achieve that apart from - and it's a big setting aside - giving some insight into the psychological strain and almost bunker mentality engendered by George III's illness, known to history as madness but probably chronic and acute porphyria rather than mental degeneration. A wife and six daughter's were essentially sacrificed on the altar of 'keeping the King f ...more
Barbara Nutting
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I felt like Laura Purcell was either a member of the court or a fly on the wall. She nailed the dialogue and all their intimate thoughts. Great way to learn about the monarchies and their pitfalls. Maybe intermarriage isn’t such a good idea! LOL

I will have to admit the names were a real challenge - so many the same, George, Charlotte etc. Not the authors fault!!

I’m still wondering why she wrote this book first. It takes place in the years FOLLOWING her second book, Mistress of the Court.
Jun 21, 2021 rated it liked it
A fictional look at King George lll, dubbed the mad king who lost America, Queen Charlotte and their brood of 15 children. Their lives certainly make for an entertaining read. I have Always enjoyed Laura Purcell's gothic novels but was a little disappointed in this and that could solely be the fault of my own expectations and not the quality of the book. I was expecting a little more serious historical context given the timeframe instead the book was centered on illness, deaths and marriages and ...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: top-10-of-2014
I can't squee enough about this novel -- it was so fascinating, disturbing, intriguing, and exciting it pulled me out of my reading slump -- and is another fabulous example of great, escapist historical fiction.

Set in the late 18th/early 19th century during George III's reign, the novel follows his wife Charlotte and a handful of their 14 children (primarily their daughters). George -- "mad" King George as well as the hated George of the American Revolution-- is a beloved husband and father, and
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2014
I cannot applaud Laura Purcell enough for her depiction of the far-reaching, destructive effects of mental illness. I also appreciated her depiction of George III, who is more than the tyrant king that Americans learn about in Revolutionary War history. A loving husband and popular king, he was plagued with regret over the loss of the colonies and how that impacted his people. While it’s true that Purcell is presenting a fictional representation, it is believable.

The narrative reveals the viewpo
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: critique-group
Told mainly through the Queen, Royal and Sophia, this novel is of how Queen Charlotte’s devotion to her husband turns slowly to frustration and resentment as he grows mentally and physically worse. Royal looks as if she will be able to break free, but she experiences her own unhappiness within the marriage that was supposed to redeem her. Sophia, who has her own health problems, is determined to find love, but her misguided choice ends up hurting her more than she could have foreseen.

This was a
Darlene Williams
The Things Families Do to Each Other

Although this novel is about George III, Charlotte, and their children, it could be about any number of families. The complicated ties of loyalty, guilt, and love strangle the 14 children of this royal couple. Charlotte, herself, grieves the loss of her loving husband to seeming madness, as well as her two infant sons. There is the restriction of duties that prevent a true understanding between her and her daughters. While the sons have more freedom, the daugh
Aug 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Just the right book at the right time.
I have had a particularly stressful last few days so I read this to escape and it worked. An easy book to read, helped because I had seen the film The Madness of King George with the marvelleous Nigel H and Dame Helen, otherwise I would have been none the wiser of these figures in my country's own history. LP is right to pick and highlight the 'lesser known' royals for they too have stories which need to be told. But remember it is historical fiction mixed
Rachel Knowles
Don’t read this book unless you are prepared to become emotionally involved with the lives of people who died 200 years ago.

God Save the King is a historical novel which gives an intimate insight into the lives of some of the women in the family circle of George III, in particular, his wife Queen Charlotte, his eldest daughter Princess Charlotte, known as Princess Royal, and one of his younger daughters, Princess Sophia.

This book is well-written, and is an accessible way of learning about the li
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
The madness of King George, as told through the eyes of his wife and daughters. This was a brilliant piece of historical fiction, sad and gripping, and definitely worth reading.
Erin Al-Mehairi
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an amazing historical fiction rendition of the story of George III from British author Laura Purcell. Her Queen of Bedlam, which was first published under a different name in England, is superb and a stand-out among the books written surrounding the various reigns of English monarchs.

The Georgian novel, of the many historical novels surrounding the life and times of Kings, Queens, and their offspring, is one I adored reading for numerous reasons. I won’t call it a Regency novel, even if she
Heather C
The period of English history that I am least with is the Regency period and all of the King Georges. I think part of my aversion is that the majority of books that I see set during this period are light, fluffy romances – of which I have fairly little use. I will admit it was primarily the title that drew me in to this novel. I have always had some amount of intrigue about the “madness of King George” and also find stories about those who tend to be on the periphery fascinating. While George II ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
In "Queen of Bedlam," Queen Charlotte of England is not sure what to do about King George III. He started out being a very good husband and a very good father but things have changed. He's starting to descend into madness, which means that it is up to Charlotte to step up, which she believes that she is ill prepared to do. I had never read any historical fiction or even really history about Queen Charlotte or King George III so I was not really sure what to expect. I was intrigued by the story o ...more
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good enjoyable read. Before starting God Save the King I knew very little about this period of history, having always favoured reading books on the Tudor of Medieval periods.

I was drawn in right from the first chapter, and eager to find out how the characters ended up in this sad situation. I really sympathized with Charlotte throughout the whole book, and can't imagine what it must have been like to lose so many loved ones, under such sad circumstances. I also thought the book
Jan 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice historical fiction read set between the less written about Georgian period of 1783 and 1818. It focuses on the family of King George III and how his 'descent into madness' affected his wife and children. It is told from the viewpoint of Queen Charlotte and some of her thirteen surviving children. It depicts a King and Queen whom had their favourite children, mourned the loss of precious babies, and daughters who were desperate to escape the King's clutches and his wish to keep them maiden ...more
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say, I've never felt so depressed by a book before. It's not what you think -- the author did such a good job conveying the various emotions and situations of the three royal women featured in the novel that you couldn't help but empathize with them. Each and every one of them was trapped by society -- both the culture of the day and the constraints of royalty.

Having watched The Madness of King George III, with Queen Charlotte played by the wonderful Helen Mirren, it came as a surprise
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just a wee review...I've read quite a bit of nonfiction about George III and his family and know their histories, but this novel (as HF does) helped to humanize them in my mind. The novel is told from the point of view of George III's wife Charlotte and his six daughters. (Charlotte and George had 15 children and 13 survived to adulthood!) George III's illness (which was probably the inherited disease porphyria) plays a big role in the novel along with the effect it had on his family particularl ...more
Andy Harris
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
thanks to goodreads for the review copy

what a great book which covers the women in the life of the (mad) king George III, I had a bit of knowledge having seen the film Madness of King George and also Blackadder III but learnt a lot from this book

well written & researched this was a great experience and fully recommneded
Tracy Green
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want more! I have never read historical fiction regarding George III. I hope Laura Purcell keeps writing.
I’ve never read a fictional telling of George III before, his madness, and the effect it had on his family. Having previously read several of Purcell’s books, I knew I enjoyed her writing. I wasn’t disappointed. She tells the story effortlessly, sticking as closely to fact as she can, but obviously she does have some artistic license because it’s fiction.
The narrative focuses on three main women of George’s family; his wife Queen Charlotte, his eldest daughter Charlotte Princess Royal (referred
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well-paced HF centered on Britain's King George The 3rd,who is believed have a hereditary Metabolic Condition called Porphyria which caused intense,often violent mood swings and how it affects not only him,but his loving but long-suffering wife Queen Charlotte and their many children. The illness suddenly shows up in 1788 ,when The King is well into his long reign and losing the Revolutionary War,so it was believed that his sudden change in personality is attributed to that. Queen Charlotte is ...more
Catherine Berry
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
I haven't finished this book, I was bored with it so I'm afraid I had to abandon it. There was no story, it felt like a history book handing out information which I already knew having read about George III. There are too many characters telling there own story and I didn't get to know them or feel anything for them because they were in and out of chapters too quickly.

As I was plodding on I kept thinking to myself 'when is something going to happen?' We only get thoughts and feelings of the char
Kyri Freeman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maddie Cramer
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I’m glad I picked this book back up. The first hundred-and-some pages were difficult because it felt like the author was planning to introduce a new point of view character every fifty pages. Luckily, she stopped at three. There were a handful of verbal anachronisms and the characters were a bit melodramatic, but once I got settled in the shifting perspectives and skipping, accelerated pace of time, I could really appreciate the immersive descriptions of the period and some especially poignant l ...more
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Laura Purcell is a former bookseller and lives in Colchester with her husband and pet guinea pigs.

Her first novel for Raven Books THE SILENT COMPANIONS won the WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award 2018 and featured in both the Zoe Ball and Radio 2 Book Clubs. Other Gothic novels include THE CORSET (THE POISON THREAD in USA), BONE CHINA and THE SHAPE OF DARKNESS (2020)

Laura’s historical fiction about

Other books in the series

Georgian Queens (2 books)
  • Mistress of the Court (Georgian Queens, #2)

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