I love Laurie Graham's writing, especially her 'insider' novels, where a fictional observer relates real-life historical events from their privileged position inside the camp. Gone with the Windsors is one, The Importance of Being Kennedy another: this latest is set all the way back in the court of George III, and it's terrific.
Nellie Welche is our heroine - the girl appointed by the Prince of Wales to be a humble companion to his sister, Sophia. As soon as we see court life from the perspective of Nellie's razor-sharp eye and wit, it becomes clear that the famous madness of King George is only one of the difficulties dogging the lives of 'the Royalties'. They're all quite bonkers, really, especially the brothers. It's such fun,for the reader. Real historical events (the French revolution, the birth of Queen Victoria - 'little Vicky Kent') are dealt with with Graham's signature light touch and great wit.
Nellie's personal life is chronicled too, and this adds poignancy to the tale, while the characters we meet along the way are brilliantly and colourfully drawn. Morphew, the coachman, is sheer genius.
Heartily recommended. And when you've read this, read the others.