Continuing her popular reading room, The Queen has announced the four novels which will feature in Series 10 of her online book club.
The Queen’s Reading Room – formerly known as The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room – was renamed to reflect Charles’ accession in September 2022.
The online Reading Room was launched in January 2021 to be a ‘celebration of literature in all its forms’ and to be ‘a hub for literary communities around the world’, as the UK and many parts of the world were still in lockdown.
The books in Series 10 include:
In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs, he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. 50 years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.
A Suitable Boy is a love story: the tale of Lata – and her mother’s – attempts to find her a suitable husband, through love or through exacting maternal appraisal. At the same time, it is the story of India, newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis as a sixth of the world’s population faces its first great general election and the chance to map its own destiny.
In 1942, Charlotte Gray, a young Scottish woman, heads for Occupied France on a dual mission – officially, to run an apparently simple errand for a British special operations group and unofficially, to search for her lover, an English airman missing in action. She travels to the village of Lavaurette, dyeing her hair and changing her name to conceal her identity. As the people in the small town prepare to meet their terrible destiny, Charlotte must come face-to-face with the harrowing truth of what took place in Europe’s darkest years, and confront a terrifying secret that threatens to cast its shadow over the remainder of her days.
Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Forced to resign, she reluctantly signs on as the host of a cooking show, Supper at Six. But her revolutionary approach to cooking, fuelled by scientific and rational commentary, grabs the attention of a nation. Soon, a legion of overlooked housewives find themselves daring to change the status quo. One molecule at a time.
It is the first series to be launched since the news of The Queen’s Reading Room becoming a charity was announced in February 2023, during a reception to mark the second anniversary of the online book community.
As an avid reader herself, Her Majesty is patron of a number of literary charities, including the National Literacy Trust, BookTrust, The Royal Society of Literature, First Story, the Wicked Young Writer Awards and Beanstalk. She is also involved in the 500 Words BBC Radio 2 competition each year, as well as the Booker Prize.
The Queen also spoke about her Reading Room when interviewed by British Vogue to mark her 75th birthday last year. She explained that she didn’t previously know what Instagram was, but was thrilled at the success of the project, which has around 161,000 followers at present.
Her Majesty also included her favourite three books of all time in her edition of Country Life. Her favourites included: ‘Where the Crawdads Sing‘ by Delia Owens, ‘The Cazalet Chronicles‘ by Elizabeth Jane Howard & ‘Travels on my Elephant‘ by her late brother, Mark Shand.