“Once a C-list actress with a fading career and now known throughout the world; she split a family apart and turned a husband’s world upside down to get there. How did she do it?”
I’m not quite sure what to make of Keeping Up With The Kensingtons. I got this title because I’m interested in the royal family, and I enjoy good humor.
The cast of characters leaves little to the imagination:
- Harry Kensington, the hapless hero
- Will Kensington, his brother
- Granny, Queen of Britannia, also known as The Boss
- Ms. Madison Mountebank, an American actress
- The Page of the Back Stairs, “an inveterate gossip, devoted to the Queen”
If you don’t follow the royal family, you will be lost. All the events that happen in the book happened in real life, sort of, but with not context in the book, so it is easy to overlook the attempted humor and just scratch one’s head in confusion.
There is humor in Keeping Up With The Kensingtons, but I wouldn’t call it satire. I’d call it black humor, because all it does is portray “Madison” as an untalented actress whose only goal is to make a name for herself and has Harry wrapped around her little finger. Keeping Up With the Kensingtons is biting humor aimed at both Harry and Madison.
Harry is portrayed as not having a mind of his own and always does Madison’s bidding. Really, the shots taken at Harry for being a royal who actually talks about his feelings are pretty low.
There are two quotes that I’d like to share that stick out: “These undemonstrative, utterly British nonagenarians undoubtedly personify the twentieth century’s most romantic and enduring love story; and the Duke’s withdrawal from public life, while being partly due to his impaired health, was surely done principally to give The Boss time to adjust to official life without him, so that that it will not be so disabling a shock when he is no longer here at all. It was his final gesture of love, loyalty and devotion to her.” This is actually a lovely passage, as there is truth to it. The problem is, it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the book.
“…he was doing was just to protect his son. No doubt that is why he’s gone to live in Hollywood, which of course, is well known for its sane, normal, well-balanced people who are famous for bringing up the world’s happiest, most well-adjusted children.” Despite the mean nature of the book, I think the author nailed it. Harry just wants to protect his son, so why can’t people leave him alone?
I’m not sure how Keeping Up With The Kensingtons was published, because at it’s best, it seems like mean girls fan fiction. I don’t know Solanah Fane, as this is her first book, so I don’t know if she’s just a bitter English woman who can’t stand the fact that Harry married a divorced American actress, or a bitter American who is jealous Harry did not pick her instead. There is too much hate in this world, and too much directed at this couple. This book is the sort of attack against “Madison” that led the real-life couple to leave England in the first place.
I received an Advanced Readers Copy from NetGalley for my honest opinion of this book.
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