Coronation Year by Jennifer Robson #HouseofWindsor #HistoricalFiction #BookReview #QueenElizabethII

The USA Today bestselling author of The Gown returns with another enthralling and royal-adjacent historical novel—as the lives of three very different residents of London’s historic Blue Lion hotel converge in a potentially explosive climax on the day of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation.

It is Coronation Year, 1953, and a new queen is about to be crowned. The people of London are in a mood to celebrate, none more so than the residents of the Blue Lion hotel.

Edie Howard, owner and operator of the floundering Blue Lion, has found the miracle she needs: on Coronation Day, Queen Elizabeth in her gold coach will pass by the hotel’s front door, allowing Edie to charge a fortune for rooms and, barring disaster, save her beloved home from financial ruin. Edie’s luck might just be turning, all thanks to a young queen about her own age.

Stella Donati, a young Italian photographer and Holocaust survivor, has come to live at the Blue Lion while she takes up a coveted position at Picture Weekly magazine. London in celebration mode feels like a different world to her. As she learns the ins and outs of her new profession, Stella discovers a purpose and direction that honor her past and bring hope for her future.

James Geddes, a war hero and gifted artist, has struggled to make his mark in a world that disdains his Indian ancestry. At the Blue Lion, though, he is made to feel welcome and worthy. Yet even as his friendship with Edie deepens, he begins to suspect that something is badly amiss at his new home.

When anonymous threats focused on Coronation Day, the Blue Lion, and even the queen herself disrupt their mood of happy optimism, Edie and her friends must race to uncover the truth, save their home, and expose those who seek to erase the joy and promise of Coronation Year.

Coronation Year (Amazon US) (Audible) (Amazon UK) (AbeBooks Used Book Marketplace)

We’re just a few weeks away from King Charles III’s coronation, and what better time to read a historical fiction novel about the last time there was a coronation? Coronation Year takes place in 1953, surrounding the events of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. The Blue Lion, an inn that dates back to the first Elizabeth’s reign, is on the coronation parade route, and its owner, Edie, is readying the hotel for the big event. Edie’s the last member of her family to run the inn; it’s been in her family since the beginning 400 years prior.

Stella is an Italian photographer who spent part of her young life in a concentration camp because she’s a Jew. She lost her parents due to World War II, and has secured a position at an English magazine. She knows Edie through her parents, who wrote travel guides prior to the war, and Edie invites her to stay at the inn as a long-term boarder. Stella gratefully accepts.

Jamie is an English-Indian artist who has been commissioned to make a painting of a building along the coronation route, which just happens to be across the street from the Blue Lion Inn. He takes a room in the attic overlooking the street and with the building in full view for the duration.

There are several other full-time boarders, as well as a tight staff as characters. There’s also a bit of a mystery leading up to the coronation: someone has mailed death threats to the police and local news establishments using Blue Lion stationary. Soon after, all the people who booked a stay during coronation week receive a cancellation notice on Blue Lion stationary with Edie’s forged signature. Scotland Yard is investigating, and Edie is very worried. The inn is barely holding on, and she fears she’ll have to sell it.

I thought the writing was well-done and it was an easy, breezy read, part romance, part historical fiction, part mystery. For fans of The Crown, or Robson’s previous book, The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson, it ticks all the boxes off for me. Highly recommended!

For more reviews, visit

Never miss a post! Subscribe to my email list below.

I’m also on PinterestInstagramTwitter and Tumblr. Check it out!

Join our Facebook page Bargain Sleuth Book Reviews or join our book group here.

This post contains affiliate links. That means I may earn a few pennies if you purchase any books mentioned in this post, at no additional cost to you. Monies earned offset the costs of web hosting.