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Amid the plethora of Sophias in the 17th-18th-century House of Hanover appears a Caroline who will become Queen of England, wife of George II. The daughter-in-law of poor, imprisoned Sophia Dorothea, who was the hapless wife of horrid George I (The Princess of Celle, 1985), Caroline has waited for her queenhood through times fraught with peril and frustration. A convincing account is set forth by Plaidy in her latest in the new Hanoverian Queen series--which sports livelier queen-scans and is more entertaining than most of her earlier fictional biographies. Like many other bright women of the time, Caroline had rather a rocky childhood (hardship seems to sharpen the wits), but she was taken under the wing of Electress Sophia Charlotte, mother of George Lewis (the future George I). While Sophia Charlotte's mother, the Electress Sophia, herself in line for the English throne (through James II), waits with all of Hanover for the demise of apparently immortal dropsical Queen Anne, Caroline marries George Augustus, son of George Lewis. The father and son cordially hate each other. It's on to the ""prison"" of Hanover for Caroline, with her charming, boyish but weak-minded husband, and to the realm of boorish George I with his bizarre mistresses (who will be known in England as ""the Maypole and the Elephant""). Then after the birth of Caroline's son Fritz. . .hurrah! Queen Anne expires, and for George A. and Caroline it's liberation. (George I, who never learned English, would rather have stayed home, but power is power.) The English public, predictably, do not take to George I, but are fond of the Prince and Princess of Wales. George I's brutality comes to full flower (he takes away Caroline's children), and Caroline and her husband wonder if he will ever die. Ah! At last. . .George II is king, but wise men like Walpole, who have tested the waters previously, know that the real ruler will be Caroline. Although the rendering of German-accented English is distracting and a clear genealogical table is badly needed, this is, like The Princess of Celle, an intriguing tale (count on Plaidy accuracy) told with gusto.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 1985
Publisher: Putnam