From the bestselling author of The Paris Model comes another breathtaking story of glamour, romance and espionage.
Success would depend on taking a dangerous risk.
When Blaise Hill, a feisty young journalist from one of Sydney’s toughest neighbourhoods, is dispatched to London at the dawn of the swinging sixties to report on Princess Margaret’s controversial marriage to an unconventional photographer, she is drawn into an elite realm of glamour and intrigue.
As the nation faces an explosive upheaval, Blaise must grapple with a series of shocking scandals at the pinnacle of British society. Yet, haunted by a threat from her past and torn between two very different men, who can she trust in a world of hidden motives and shifting alliances? If she makes the wrong choice, she will lose everything.
Inspired by real events, The Royal Correspondent is a compelling story of love and betrayal, family secrets and conspiracy that takes you from the gritty life of a daily newspaper to the opulent splendour of Buckingham Palace.
My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invite and to the publisher for a review copy. The Royal Correspondent is published by Harper Collins UK/Harper360 and is available in ebook, audio and paperback (25 May 2023). I loved the premise of this – and the cover enticed me too! I’m delighted to share my review for the blog tour.
Set during the late 1950’s to early 60’s The Royal Correspondent is a captivating story of one woman’s determination to succeed in her chosen career and to become a notable reporter covering serious issues and not being content with being relegated to the Women’s pages. The protagonist, ambitious young Australian Blaise Hill, through sheer hard graft, hauls herself up from an impoverished background in Sydney to become a Royal correspondent on a London newspaper, but in doing so encounters sexism, prejudice and more.
Set against the background of challenging world events such as the Cold War, the building of the Berlin Wall and other political and royal scandals of the time, not to mention the fashion revolution bought about by designers such as Mary Quant, the story is a fabulous commentary of the times combining fact and fiction with evocative and majestic settings and well drawn characters.
Blaise was a brilliant creation. she was spirited and independent and although initially rather gullible by falling for tricks played by her male colleagues at the newspaper, she soon learnt to fight back and earn respect. As the dedicated Royal journalist, traditions and protocols were one of the vexing issues she had to navigate upon her arrival, not to mention missing her family back in Australia.
There are many famous characters playing a part in the story, including renowned society photographer Cecil Beaton with his gossipy tales and Christine Keeler, whose part in the Profumo scandal also gets a mention. There is so much to enjoy with this story; the struggles of Blaise to succeed in a male dominated environment, royal and political scandal, espionage, murder, secrets and blackmail. The story also ventures into the darker side of relationships with Blaise not knowing who to trust. On a lighter side, the fashions and glamour of haute couture, invitations to Royal events all combined with the evocative setting of London in the 60s. There is also the heartwarming female friendships formed and the heartache of romance.
Separated into three sections, Commoner, Courtier and Queen and told in the third person, The Royal Correspondent is superbly written and a pleasure to read. Blaise was an extraordinary and engaging character, not perfect – her flaws and questionable judgement result in tension and drama, but she was someone I could root for throughout the book. There is an enlightening section at the back where the author’s note describes her family background in newspaper publishing and information about the real life events of the time and why certain real life characters and events were included in the story. The description of the paper’s Births, Deaths and Marriages section, referred to internally as Hatches, Matches and Despatches made me smile.
Authentic, intriguing and such an enjoyable read. I loved The Royal Correspondent and have no hesitation in recommending.
Alexandra Joel is a former editor of the Australian edition of Harper’s Bazaar and of Portfolio, Australia’s first magazine for working women. She has also contributed feature articles, interviews and reviews to many national and metropolitan publications.
With an honours degree from the University of Sydney and a graduate diploma from the Australian College of Applied Psychology, she has been a practising counsellor and psychotherapist.