Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Audio Book Review: Before the Crown by Flora Harding

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction/Audio Book
Pub. Date: May 18, 2021
Publisher: One More Chapter
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 


Goodreads says, "Windsor Castle, 1943   As war rages across the world, Princess Elizabeth comes face to face with the dashing naval officer she first met in London nine years before.  One of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy, Philip represents everything she has always been taught to avoid. Instability. Audacity. Adventure.  But when the king learns of their relationship, the suitability of the foreign prince is questioned by all at court.  He is the risk she has never been allowed to take. The risk not even the shadow of the crown will stop her from taking…  Step through the palace gates and discover a captivating historical novel of royal secrets and forbidden love exploring the tempestuous courtship between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in the wake of WWII."

The year is 1943 and Elizabeth is a young woman who plays an important role in the British monarchy and has started thinking about who she will marry.  She still thinks about the handsome Prince Philip of Greece that she met nine years ago.  Her parents want her to marry someone stable, which is pretty much the opposite of Philip who is the epitome of a dauntless bad boy who loves adventure.  After seeing Philip again,  there's no denying that Elizabeth is smitten. Who wouldn't be? He is often described as an extremely good looking, tall Viking. Things with Philip aren't easy though.  Behind the scenes he has issues with obtaining citizenship (he is a foreign prince!), his family isn't exactly stable or respectable in the eyes of the British monarchy, and he has a reputation of being someone who fights convention.  Elizabeth's parents are certain that this is a match that cannot happen; however, Elizabeth's heart says differently.  As Elizabeth and Philip's relationship progresses, they deal with many issues, such as separations, war, unsure feelings, and meddling parents. But we all know how this ends and the glimpse into their early years of courtship was definitely a captivating one.  Flora Harding's Before the Crown is a fantastic and timely historical tale based on the real-life courtship of Elizabeth and Philip; it tugged on my heartstrings. 

Harding portrays Elizabeth just how I would imagine her to be in Before the Crown. She's shy, loyal, constant, determined and understands her role in the monarchy.  On the other hand, Philip is exactly how I would imagine him as well.  He is charismatic, good looking, adventurous, says what he wants, and tends to break the rules. Harding does a phenomenal job bringing these influential people to life so very well and making them relatable too.  Readers get an inside view from Elizabeth's perspective about the rules of the monarchy, the pressures of her family, the ins and outs of Royal life, and much more.  I also appreciated the background information regarding Philip's childhood and his unconventional family life, not to mention some of issues surrounding his sisters.  His sisters' ties to the Nazis makes it another hurdle for Elizabeth and for her to showcase Philip as a suitable suitor.  In addition to this, Philip's childhood was anything, but stable and readers learn more about this in Before the Crown. Readers can easily see how he might not be the traditional suitor that Elizabeth parents were hoping for.

Nonetheless, their relationship blossoms despite all the challenges in Before the Crown.  I loved their courtship and their dedication to one another as well as Elizabeth's role in the monarchy. That takes a lot of dedication from both of them and Philip had to give up a lot to support Elizabeth.  Before the Crown was a very timely book, because I had read and listened to it right after Philip's passing, so I found aspects of this novel to be especially moving.  I also listened to the audio version of the book, which was fantastic. I really appreciated the two different narrators and I think Imogen Wilde captured Elizabeth's cadence very well.  

Fans of The Crown will will especially love Before the Crown, because it's well researched, but heartfelt, too. If you are a Royal family fan like me, you will love being immersed in Elizabeth's world back to a time when she was young and they had their whole lives ahead of them.  

Are you a fan of the Royal family? Is this book on your TBR list? Do you enjoy historical audio books? Let me know what you think in the comments below. 



  1. I am fascinated by the Royal Family, so I'm really looking forward to this one - glad to hear you enjoyed it!

    1. Me too. I think you'd like this one! Thanks for visiting, Angela!

  2. Oh this is interesting. A different take on the Royal Family. So glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Yes! I loved the glimpse into their early parts of their relationship and wedding. Thanks for visiting, Joy!


I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

Design by: Designer Blogs