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September 4, 2021

The Royal Correspondent by Alexandra Joel ~ an Audiobook Review

by Donna Huber

Earlier this summer I watched the short-lived Amazon series Good Girls Revolt based on the book by the same name by Lynn Povich. It's about women working at Newsweek in the 1960s. The series ended just as it was getting good and it left me wanting to know more. So I was excited to see The Royal Correspondent by Alexandra Joel.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free audiobook was provided for an honest review.

The Royal Correspondent
September 2021; HarperAudio; 9780063112827
audio (14h 21m), ebook, print; women's fiction

Also inspired by real events, it wasn't just the newspaper angle that drew me to the book. I'm a sucker for a good espionage book - particularly Cold War-era espionage. Blaise Hill is a young Australian woman from a poor family. Her sister contracted polio and her constant care is another strain on the family. Blaise dreams of being a hard-nosed newspaper reporter and will take any job that can put her on the path of fulfilling her dream. So when offered the position of "copy boy" she jumps at it. She quickly proves herself as an able journalist but instead of landing on the crime beat she is assigned to the "women's pages". What does she know of fashion and makeup? She owns two skirts and two blouses and no cosmetics. But as with everything she strives to learn everything she can to about the newspaper business and she finds herself on an adventure she never expected.

Blaise is a very capable person and she's willing to take big risks in hopes of reaping big rewards. Sometimes they work out and sometimes she crashes and burns. I like that she didn't let her failures keep her down and viewed them just as temporary detours to her true goal.

She is also a bit naive and vulnerable - I imagine many women in the 1960s were the same as they had not been afforded the experiences of their male counterparts and were forging a new path. She felt like a real person with strengths and weaknesses.

I strongly disliked Charles - he's manipulative and smug. I worried that Blaise's naivety would blind her to his true nature. His rank in society and financial stability were strong "heady" draws for women in Blaise's position. We know many women endured unhappy and often abusive marriages because of those lures.

When I started the audiobook I was slightly confused. I had forgotten that Blaise was Australian and with the English setting of the opening scene I was thrown by the accent. I was soon reminded of Australian origins and the accent made much more sense. Caroline Lee does an excellent job with the various accents - both Australian and British. I had no trouble with which character was speaking and the plot is easy enough to follow while listening to the audiobook.

While the espionage plot was a minor storyline, I still enjoyed the story and Blaise is a character that you can't help root for and want to see succeed.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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