Sunday, April 2, 2023

The Coronation Year by Jennifer Robson

The USA Today bestselling author of The Gown returns with another enthralling and royal-adjacent historical novel—as the lives of three very different residents of London’s historic Blue Lion hotel converge in a potentially explosive climax on the day of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation.

It is Coronation Year, 1953, and a new queen is about to be crowned. The people of London are in a mood to celebrate, none more so than the residents of the Blue Lion hotel.

Edie Howard, owner and operator of the floundering Blue Lion, has found the miracle she needs: on Coronation Day, Queen Elizabeth in her gold coach will pass by the hotel’s front door, allowing Edie to charge a fortune for rooms and, barring disaster, save her beloved home from financial ruin. Edie’s luck might just be turning, all thanks to a young queen about her own age.

Stella Donati, a young Italian photographer and Holocaust survivor, has come to live at the Blue Lion while she takes up a coveted position at Picture Weekly magazine. London in celebration mode feels like a different world to her. As she learns the ins and outs of her new profession, Stella discovers a purpose and direction that honor her past and bring hope for her future.

James Geddes, a war hero and gifted artist, has struggled to make his mark in a world that disdains his Indian ancestry. At the Blue Lion, though, he is made to feel welcome and worthy. Yet even as his friendship with Edie deepens, he begins to suspect that something is badly amiss at his new home.

When anonymous threats focused on Coronation Day, the Blue Lion, and even the queen herself disrupt their mood of happy optimism, Edie and her friends must race to uncover the truth, save their home, and expose those who seek to erase the joy and promise of Coronation Year.

Kindle, 400 pages
Expected publication April 4, 2023
by William Morrow & Company
3/5 stars

Jennifer Robson is an auto read author for me. Her love of all things royal and England is evident in her social media accounts and her writing. She is actually the first author that I attended an author event for.

In her latest novel, The Coronation Year, Robson takes us on a journey through the six months leading up to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Through the eyes of three individuals scarred by the war, we witness their struggles and triumphs as they make their way towards this historic event.

Edie, the owner of the Blue Lion Hotel on the coronation route, faces one trial after another as she prepares for the big day. Stella, a photographer who survived the war in Italy, is in England for a fresh start after losing most of her family in various camps. And James, a Scottish painter with Indian roots, must navigate not only the aftermath of the war, but also racial tensions.

As the new monarchy becomes official, the coronation year is a story of hope for the future, despite the trials and tribulations that these characters face. And of course, there is a touch of romance to round things out nicely.

My thanks to William Morrow (via Netgalley) for a digital arc in exchange for a honest review.

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