A scandalously juicy idea—that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor had a child but disowned her—adds a classy touch to an otherwise thin story that’s essentially a variation of the Cinderella tale: a beautiful heroine finds her own prince despite parental neglect and daunting challenges.
The child, Emerald, is born in May 1937, just before her royal parents marry in June. She is immediately whisked away to join the Fergusson household in London, her only royal memento being an engraved bracelet with an emerald cross. Iona Fergusson was once a mistress of the Duke’s but is now married and the mother of four-year-old Callum. Callum is deeply protective of Emerald, who in turn adores him and Iona, but WWII ends their secure childhood. As the bombs start falling, Anthony Anstruther, a lawyer and former aide of the Duke's, arranges for the children to sail to Scotland, where Callum will join his grandfather while Emerald will continue on to the Bahamas, now the home of the Windsors. But the ship sinks in a storm, and though the two children are rescued, they're brought up in separate households. From then on, the story becomes a fast-paced record of the inevitable setbacks, heartbreaks, and major triumphs the beautiful Emerald must endure. Unlike her parents, she's generous, selfless, and considerate, as she adjusts to living in Mexico and France and also, when inconveniently pregnant, to a hasty arranged marriage with homosexual peer Tom Sherwood, who wants an heir—not to mention the dowry that Anstruther insisted Emerald’s tightwad royal parents provide. Once a stunning fashion model in New York and Paris, she becomes, in England, the mother of James and morphs into a successful businesswoman who makes the Forbes list of big moneymakers. But her heart still belongs to Callum, and he hasn’t forgotten Emerald either.
Brain candy with a pedigree.