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A Humble Companion

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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  233 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Nellie Welche is the daughter of a high-ranking steward in the household of Prinnie, Prince of Wales. In 1788, at the age of twelve, she's proposed as a suitably humble companion to Princess Sophia, one of George III's enormous brood of children. Nellie and Sofy become friends for life. From the first rumblings of revolution in France to the exciting, modern times of gas l ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 29th 2013 by Quercus (first published June 1st 2012)
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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  233 ratings  ·  27 reviews


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Sahra
Jan 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not bad, however at many times it comes dangerously close to sounding like a history textbook. The most interesting parts where those of Nellie recounting her life rather than the lives of the Royal family. I also found myself struggling to remember who all the characters where and I was quite often flipping back and getting confused as there was probably at-least 3 new character additions every chapter and most of them shared similar names. Overall not bad but not great: I wouldn't recommend it ...more
Catherine Holmes
a good book, interesting but about 50 pages too long.
Mieneke
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the past, I've made no secret of my love for historical fiction concerning royalty and aristocracy and in fact, Laurie Graham's A Humble Companion made my Anticipated Reads post for the first half of this year. What interested me about this novel in particular was the era it dealt with, as the Hanoverian George's are some of the kings in British history I'm least familiar with. To say that I now know lots more about them, would be an exaggeration, but what I did learn more about is the life o ...more
Martine
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Very interesting and pleasant read.

I am a little disappointed that Nellie was not a historical character because I was dying to read her books.
P.D.R. Lindsay

‘A Humble Companion’ is an enjoyable and less usual style of historical novel. It’s an ‘insider’ novel where an outsider becomes part of a well known real historical group and tells us their story. Poor ordinary Nellie is a character the reader quickly warms to and her observations and dry wit make for excellent and humourous reading. She has plenty to observe, her position as the outsider, way out of her social world, gives the reader a very different view of King George III and his family life
...more
zespri
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Laurie Graham is better known for writing contemporary comedy, so a leap into historical fiction made for an interesting change.

I have always enjoyed her books, and this was no exception. A bit hard going at first, but once I was familiar with the main character Nellie, I was along for the ride.

Nellie becomes the companion to Sophia, one of King George 111 daughters. As such, she sees and hears things not usually aired in the public arena. The behind the scenes look at the house of Hanover is f
...more
Mirella
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Humble Companion by Laurie Graham is a novel about the Royal Family between King George III to Queen Victoria. The story begins in 1788. Nellie Welche is a twelve year old girl with a horrible birthmark on her face. She lives a comfortable life home in Soho with her parents. Her father, a chef for the household of the Prince of Wales, suggests to the King that Nellie might make a suitable companion to nine year old Princess Sophia, the daughter of King George III and Queen Charlotte. Nellie is ...more
Anita
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is 1788, and twelve-year-old Cornelia [Nellie] Welche’s lives in her comfortable home in Soho, where her father is a high-ranking steward in the household of Prinnie, Prince of Wales. Nellie is mourning the loss of her elder sister, Eliza, manifested in her overeating her father’s cakes. The fact that she also suffers from a disfiguring birthmark, does not help her appearance as it attracts both sympathy and derision.

Her world changes forever when her father puts her forward as a companion to
...more
Brenda
The cover of my bound proof copy said this :- You are cordially invited to spend an evening with A Humble Companion by Laurie Graham to make the acquaintance of Miss Nellie Welche, companion to Royalty and Keeper of Secrets.
How I wish that I could have read it all in just one evening! From page one I was hooked by this story, written as a memoir by the companion of the title but woven around the historical facts of 'the Royalties' during the years 1788-1848 covering the reigns from George III,-
...more
Hilary Hicklin
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Laurie Graham has done a clever thing here. Normally a writer of contemporary humorous fiction, she has tried her hand at a historical novel, but instead of using a world peopled by real historical characters, or one which uses a historical backdrop for a cast of fictional characters, she has inserted a fictional character into the real world of the daughters of George III, using all the wit and style of her modern novels. And it works! Who knew what sheltered but scandalous lives they led!

Using
...more
Kate North
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was great. A historical novel about the (fictional) "Humble Companion" (i.e. ordinary (not noble) girl engaged to be a friend to) of Princess Sofia, Daughter of George III (not fictional). The lives of the many, many members of George III's family are portrayed fairly accurately, as far as I can tell, including some of the more surprising parts, though of course all the encounters with Nellie, the companion, are made up. The book also explores Nellie's own life away from The Royalties, ...more
Dorothy
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Laurie Graham is a discovery. After reading Life According to Lubka, I assumed I knew her style - chick lit with a smart-mouthed, flawed heroine and a prose full of deadly one-liners.

Then I picked up A Humble Companion. It's a historical novel, for goodness sake! And she is just as good in this as she was in the comedic Lubka.

As I read this, I was reminded of some recent historical novels where the description of setting was good, but - for some reason I couldn't put my finger on - I didn't fee
...more
CuteBadger
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nellie Welche is a commoner chosen at the age of 12 to be a Humble Companion to Princess Sophia, one of the daughters of George III. The idea is that she will teach the Princess about ordinary life, but in telling us her own and Sophia's life stories it becomes obvious that the commoner learns more about Royal life and scandal than Royalty learns about commoners.

I loved this book from beginning to end and was really sorry when it was over. Nellie is a wonderful creation who jumps from the page a
...more
Rachel
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always look forward to a new Laurie Graham novel, and loved this one. Graham has written historical fiction before, but never gone so far back in time, and has found a rich seam to mine. "Mad" King George's large family, are viewed by Nellie via her role as a companion to Princess Sofy. The privilege afforded to the family and their waste of it is the theme that Nellie returns to time after time: waste of money, waste of their time and talents, and carelessness of other's feelings.

We see all
...more
Vicky
Aug 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned a lot about the British Royals. The history behind the Hanoverian dynasty is fascinating. The Mad King George and his 15th children are at centre of this book. And what a family they were! Many readers found this book boring, with the main character coming and going, her life entangled with princesses, her presence as a humble companion made her a unique witness to their miserable life. The Royals are dying from boredom and the country being ruled somehow by a bunch of narrow minded si ...more
Jane
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
I enjoy reading Laurie Graham's books, each one of them is vastly different from the others and she tackles subjects from Wallis Simpson to cross dressing with aplomb. A Humble Companion is is about Charles III's family of 15 children and in particular his daughter Sofy and her 'humble companion' Nellie who tells the story. It is an entertaining look at this period of English history from the Napoleonic wars, the French revolution and the start of the Industrial Revolution. I learnt alot from La ...more
Lindsay Heller
So if you ever want to be dissuaded of the notion that being royal is always awesome then this is the book for you. Nellie Welche is engaged in her youth to be the humble companion (read: normal person) to Princess Sophia, the second to youngest of King George III's excessive brood of a million cantankerous children. For the rest of her life she quietly observes as the Hanovers implode repeatedly. This was a very well done book.
Laura Daly
I am a big fan of Laurie Graham so I pre ordered this for Kindle. I should first of all say that it/was not my favorite of Grahams books. It was really well researched and I learned plenty about how awful the life of a Royal Princess was in the 1700s. I grew into the book but it will not stick out in my mind. It was all pretty tame and I won't be rereading it.
Cath
May 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as funny as some of Laurie Graham's other books (eg At Sea), but quite interesting as a peek (fictitious) into the lives of the Hanoverians (not an era I was particularly aware of). Another good read from this author.
Sarah
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-books
This started well, but as the story went on, it became somewhat dull and boring. I ended up skimming the final part of the book. This is not a period of history I am familiar with so that may have had something to do with it.
Pat Lee
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. I enjoyed it very much. I felt like I was peeking in a keyhole at the Royal Hanover family. Have read many historical fiction books about various royal families, however this was the first I have read about the Hanovers.
Pauline
Jun 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
I liked this book at first but it became boring after a while. Lots of historical details and interesting to find out about the Hanoverians but not enough plot for me. I skim read the last 100 pages. Nellie was an interesting character and I wanted to know more about her and not all those royals.
Sue Corbett
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great - writing up to her usual excellent standard. Love her light touch with humour- just so natural and unforced. An interesting story unearthed and told in a clever and engaging way
Janet Anderson
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
A lovely historical read. Well written with beautifully drawn characters bringing the Period to
Life
Deadly Microbe
Entertaining read. What an appalling family: I wonder if the current bunch are anything like as awful? Probably....certainly Princess Margaret, Princess Anne and Prince Philip would fit right in.
Louise Brummer
A joy to read, interesting but not as "juicy" as I expected, will read this author again.
Ethelberta
rated it liked it
Mar 09, 2017
Annie
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Nov 19, 2017
Pam Blake
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Aug 22, 2017
Linda Foster
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Feb 19, 2015 06:26PM  
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  • My Dear Charlotte
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Laurie Graham was first published at the advanced age of 40. She is the author of THE TEN O'CLOCK HORSES, PERFECT MERINGUES, THE DRESS CIRCLE, DOG DAYS GLENN MILLER NIGHTS, THE FUTURE HOMEMAKERS OF AMERICA, THE UNFORTUNATES, MR STARLIGHT, GONE WITH THE WINDSORS, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING KENNEDY, LIFE ACCORDING TO LUBKA, AT SEA, A HUMBLE COMPANION, THE LIAR'S DAUGHTER and THE GRAND DUCHESS OF NOWHER ...more