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4.0 out of 5 starsThumbs up
Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2017
Recommended for any fans of the late, great Diana, but also for anyone looking for a very different kind of novel. The author Diane Clehane pulled off quite a feat, because this feels completely real. My one beef is that there was A LOT of glam, everything was Chanel this, Versace that, Oscar parties, private jets, et cetera, and while that was fun to read about and aspire to, it reminded me of all the label-hounding in the Sex and the City movie (which, even despite that, brought tears to my eyes, just like this book did!) But I would have liked more chapters showing Diana in war-torn countries and continuing to fight against land mines. There is a heartbreaking scene when she encounters a little Bosnian girl on one of her humanitarian photo ops, I wish there would have been more of that. But this is definitely worth a re-read and I imagine will be perfect fodder for book clubs, because it allows you to revisit and explore your own life over the past 20 years while livening vicariously through Princess Diana's imagining life.
Reviewed in the United States on September 1, 2017
But what an ending! I had a lump in my throat by the second paragraph and, then, by the end of the final chapter, literally, tears. Tears of what might have been. I liked Lady Di a lot but this book made me LOVE her. She is so real and yet at the same time she seems almost magical. I did not know what to expect, but this was a real page-turner, and very inventive, I mean half the book takes place in New York City, but it works! I am ready for the movie now, or at least the tv show lol. I seriously loved it, and you can tell the author wanted to give poor princess Diana a happy ending. She so deserved it. I'm going to read it again now, seriously. Oh! There are really beautiful charcoal portraits of Diana that show her at different stages in this imagined life, they are so pretty, each one could be a book cover. No spoilers, but she does wind up with someone at the end (will not say who) but I was hoping that she wind up with someone else (no names, but you'll probably be able to guesss who)
5.0 out of 5 starsA wow of a fictional account: what if Princess Diana had survived?
Reviewed in the United States on September 19, 2017
Since this is a novel, a work of fiction it is the author who has created and imagined what Princess Diana's life would be like had she survived that horrible crash in Paris. It is surely not the only way things might have gone but the book has been well-researched and thought about so that it does seem that Diana is still with us, but alas it is not to be. Ms. Clehane met with Diana's brother, Earl Spencer and it was he who inspired this book. I find it to be a page-turner and cannot wait to see how this all plays out through the author's vision of how Diana might have been and how in turn, her being alive may have impacted our world.
5.0 out of 5 starsElegant and Compulsively Readable
Reviewed in the United States on August 31, 2017
What a terrific novel! If I had to describe it in a word, that word would be "elegant": elegantly written, elegantly plotted, and elegant in its portrayal of Princess Diana and the Royal Family.
Even though this is a obviously a work of fiction, the dialogue in the book between Diana and the people in her inner circle is so good that it actually provides a great deal of insight into their characters and motivations. I came away from this book feeling I had a better, more nuanced sense of them as people than one gets from watching royals coverage on television or reading a tell all biography. In this respect, the work it most resembles is not necessarily another book, but rather, the movie "The Queen" -- just as Helen Mirren's unforgettable but fictionalized portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in that movie revealed a side of the Queen's personality that few British or American audiences imagined she had, this book provides uses a fictional construct to provide an illuminating perspective on Diana's personality. If you liked "The Queen" you'll probably love this book, for the same reasons.
Finally, reading this was a poignant reminder of why we loved Princess Diana so much, and how much less kind, genteel, and yes, elegant, the world is without her.
Reviewed in the United States on September 28, 2017
Kudos to Ms. Clehane for even attempting a project such as this one. It's no easy feat to take on the legendary Princess of Wales, and I approached this book hoping to get lost in a believable fantasy. Unfortunately, at times I felt like I was reading a novel filled with "Cliffs Notes" snippets of Diana history mixed with two-dimensional storytelling. Based on what is publicly known about Royal protocol and custom, I find it hard to imagine that Camilla would have been skulking around alone at the Queen Mother's funeral reception with a cigarette lying in wait to stare daggers at her former rival. But, then, this is fiction and it is the author's prerogative to take liberties. My biggest disappointment was in discovering a tremendous factual error -- Diana and Charles were married at St. Paul's Cathedral, not Westminster Abbey. There really is no excuse for such a mistake with a subject matter as high profile as this one. Still, I am upgrading a two-star review to three stars because the ending was so cleverly bittersweet.
5.0 out of 5 starsSo much fun to read! Excellent story, I often forgot it was fiction.
Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2017
Thank you for the opportunity to imagine Diana surviving the terrible crash. To read about the fulfillment of her dreams through this imagined story was exciting, comforting and brilliant. Once I started it, I could put it down! Thanks for finishing the dream she couldn't.
I enjoyed this book. I'm sure many have privately wondered to themselves about what could have been if Diana had survived. This book covers that wondering quite nicely. I think the author captured the essence of Diana very well. Who knows exactly what would have happened in Diana's life had she lived, I'd like to think things would have settled out in a way like her journey in this book.
Separating fact from fiction is very important in reading this. Let yourself go and just enjoy this bit of fiction, just like with other historical characters.
5.0 out of 5 starsWhat if Princess Diana had survived the horrific car crash ...
Reviewed in the United States on September 28, 2017
What if Princess Diana had survived the horrific car crash in Paris? Diane Clehane's "Imagining Diana" cleverly hinges on one small but significant detail in the accident, creating a plausible, respectful and absorbing story about how Diana might have chosen to live her life post-crash. Clehane writes with elegance and style and a thorough knowledge of her subject.