For most of his childhood, Jemmy’s memories are filled with strange men frequenting his mother’s bedroom, destitution, hunger and the constant claim made by his mother that he is the son of the exiled King of England. His whole life changes when the exiled king himself, Charles II, claims him. Suddenly, Jemmy, “Master James Croft” is swept into the world of the English court and political intrigue. While the monarchy is once again established on a rocky throne, it is in no less danger from wars in neighboring realms, and internal mischief. And through it all, Jemmy tries to make sense of the King, the father whom he loved, but would never claim as his legitimate first born.
Personal Take: Jude Morgan is one writer to always look forward to whenever he releases historical fiction. His regency books are simply fantastic, and brings up the spirit of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. His other books bring historical characters to life, truly delving deep into their times and lives. So I was excited to read The King’s Touch, as I was looking forward to a beautiful narrative. And it truly was beautiful.
It’s clear that Morgan balanced the line between historical accounts and the fictional, and he did it very well. The book chronicles events of the exiled royalty Charles II and his family, up to his restoration, and eventual death. While it’s interesting that the narrator was his illegitimate first born, it felt for most of the book that James, the son, was passive. And his passivity brought up the same conflicts over and over again, making it painfully repetitive throughout the book. It was also a little sad and frustrating that James’ own story was secondary to his father’s for most of the story up until just before the book ended.
Another thing was, while it was so beautifully written, it could have been condensed if the repetitive parts were removed. The book picked up for me towards the end as the story worked its way to concluding events, but before that, things just took too long.
It’s definitely an interesting, and beautifully written account of the Merry Monarch, but I don’t think it’s the best of Morgan’s books.
Audience: Adult language and situations.