News.Scotsman.com, the online version of The Scotsman, has an article titled "If Diana had lived", which combines a review of a forthcoming book with more speculation on the meaning of the Diana phenomenon. This is undoubtedly a tie-in with the new public inquiry being conducted in Scotland, at the request of Mohamed al Fayed, into the car crash deaths of the Princess and al Fayed's son, Dodi. Mention is also made of the private investigation carried out by best-selling crime writer Patricia Cornwell, who revealed her findings on a TV show on ABC last October.
Balmoral is first being published in serial form in the Talk of the Town Sunday magazine, and will be published in book form in spring 2004. The authors are Emma Tennant and Hilary Bailey, writing under the pseudonym of Isabel Vane.
This is a literary reference to an obvious precursor novel, East Lynne (Broadview Literary Texts), published 1860, in which the narrator/protagonist has that name; she is a "lost" mother who returns to her family home disguised as a governess to care for her two sons. In Balmoral, a nurse named Sister Julia, with a more than passing resemblance to the deceased princess, comes to Balmoral Castle to tend to an injured Prince Harry. The main thrust of the book is a critique of the current state of the British monarchy, and the authors call it a "fable" wherein Diana has not died, and returns, sans the trappings and traps of royalty, to finish the job of reforming the institution and shaking up the dysfunctional Windsor family. It is also a fond homage to the splendid old Victorian romance, including the practices of serialisation and mixing fantasy with true contemporary figures.
Update: Balmoral: The Novel is now available, if you're interested.
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