FICTION

The Royal Correspondent

Harper Perennial Sept. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9780063143043. $26.99; pap. ISBN 9780063112803. $16.99. F
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Blaise Hill, a plucky and determined young woman living in a rough Sydney suburb in the late 1950s, wants to be a newspaper journalist. The industry is male-dominated, but she convinces an editor to let her be a “copy boy.” She works hard, is offered an assignment covering Princess Margaret’s 1960 wedding in London, and becomes a permanent royal correspondent there. Blaise misses her family and isn’t thrilled to be writing about the royal family and fashion, so she keeps her eyes and ears open for a scoop that might move her writing from the women’s pages to the front page. In the meantime, she has two romantic suitors—Adam, a bad boy she met in Sydney who knows the dangerous secret she keeps, and Charlie, a good boy who works in government in London. Joel’s second novel (after The Paris Model) is an entertaining but slightly too long period piece that adeptly blends real and fictitious events. Joel clearly did her research, and her author’s note at the end of the book is a fascinating read.
VERDICT For readers who enjoy feisty heroines, fashion history, and the British royal family.
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