‘The Royal Secret’ by Lucinda Riley

In the UK this book is published under the title:  The Love Letter.

An ambitious young journalist, unravels a dangerous mystery that threatens to devastate the British monarchy. Keeping secrets is a dangerous game. When Sir James Harrison, one the greatest actors of his generation, passes away at the age of ninety-five, he leaves behind not just a heartbroken family but also a secret so shocking, it could rock the English establishment to its core. Joanna stumbles on something dark beneath the glamour: the mention of a letter James Harrison has left behind–the contents of which many have been desperate to keep concealed for over seventy years. As she peels back the veil of lies that has shrouded the secret, she realises that she’s close to uncovering something deadly serious–and the royal family may be implicated. Before long, someone is on her tracks, attempting to prevent her from discovering the truth. And they’ll stop at nothing to reach the letter before she does.

For pure escapism, this royal scandal fit the bill, but I found it weaker than The Lavender Garden and the Seven Sisters series. This is a thrilling page-turner, but I found it a bit overlong and the plot rather improbable and exaggerated. If you are new to Riley, don’t start with this one, but if you are a diehard fan like I am, it’s still a fun engaging read and also interesting because she wrote it 20 years ago. It was recently republished so it definitely shows how the author has improved in her writing!

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