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This sad tale of Sophia Dorothea, divorced and exiled wife of George I of England, is one of the peppier entries from the Plaidy stable of pop portraits of past royals. In this version, Sophia D. is a delicate and innocent Germanic beauty, sole chick of George William, who deeded the title of Duke of Luneberg to his young brother Ernest Augustus; and it's Ernest Augustus' son, thick-pated George Lewis, who is eventually headed for the British throne--thanks largely to his ambitious mother (a granddaughter of England's Charles 1). Thus, while young Sophia D., Princess of Celle, indulges in an infatuation for handsome Swedish admirer Philip Konigsmarck, a direful destiny is brewing for her in Ernest Augustus' House of Hanover. First the Meisenburg sisters, Clara and Marie, daughters of an impoverished count, arrive at Hanover to ""take over the task of ministering to its sexual needs."" (Clara is soon tucked into bed with Ernest Augustus, and Marie will eventually serve the barnyard needs of George Lewis.) Then the Hanover parents--who ""shudder inwardly"" whenever George ""lumbers into view""--unsuccessfully seek his marriage to England's Princess Anne. So, when a consolidation of Duchy lands becomes essential to Hanover plans, Sophia D. is doomed: she faints at the first sight of George Lewis, they wed nonetheless. The marriage is deadly; Clara busily works to undermine the already undone Sophia D.; the bride finds no sanctuary with her beloved mother now that her once-loving father has rejected her. George Lewis, by now flaunting a mistress, satisfied that he's produced an heir (Sophia Dorothea gives birth to two), returns his wife's distaste and hatred. Enter Philip Konigsmarck--richer, handsomer, and more in love than ever: there's a fevered, dangerous love affair, an aborted elopement, betrayal and murder. And it all results in an agony of grief and a 30-year banishment to a remote German castle for the woman who was to be Britain's queen. . . but who would never see England. A busy romantic yarn, complete with hand-wringings, beady-eyed plotting, scandal, and desperate flights--and much livelier reading (there's even some very uncharacteristic humor) than Plaidy's usual.

Pub Date: June 3rd, 1985
Publisher: Putnam