Publishers defend 'important' romance but fail to convince critics

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The Independent Online
BLOOMSBURY, publishers of Princess in Love, defended the book yesterday, describing it as 'very important'. But others were less complimentary, one critic condemning it as 'clogging, nauseating and overblown', writes Danny Penman.

Professor Lisa Jardine, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Queen Mary and Westfield College, London University, described the book as an 'excellent parody of the Mills and Boon genre - it's better than Jeffrey Archer'.

But Lord St John of Fawsley, Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, found the writing 'clogging, nauseating and overblown . . . It makes Barbara Cartland sound like George Eliot. Once you put it down, you cannot pick it up again . . . a ghastly book, assuming an omniscience and insights into the minds of the two protagonists which the author could not possibly have.'

Lord Mishcon, the Princess of Wales's solicitor, yesterday said it sounded like 'a wretched book'.

Dame Barbara Cartland, novelist and the Princess's step- grandmother, was 'sickened' by it and condemned the former Life Guard's behaviour. It was 'absolutely shocking that anyone who calls himself a gentleman and comes from a good regiment, could do an unfair thing to a friend'.

One of the first women to buy the book in Charing Cross Road, central London, yesterday morning, was unconcerned by the Princess of Wales's alleged misbehaviour.

'All women have affairs, we all do, otherwise we wouldn't be human . . . They've always been doing it but in the old days they'd be beheaded,' she said.

An English tutor at Oxford University, where Anna Pasternak read geography at Christ Church, said only: 'I am glad she has found gainful employment. That's more than can be said for many of our students.'