Spanning from 1980s London and the royal wedding of a century to a present-day reality TV show, A HOUSE FULL OF WINDSOR explores how one woman’s messy past shapes her family’s future.
Sarah Percy’s career depends on New Yorkers taking her household advice as gospel. “Sarah Says” used to be the most popular segment on the city’s top morning show, but ratings are down and it looks like Sarah might not have a tip for everything, after all… especially when her mother gets involved.
Debbie Windsor, Sarah’s mother, is a shopaholic and compulsive hoarder, a secret Sarah has worked tirelessly to hide her entire life. Debbie was always fascinated by royalty, but when her real-life love story started to parallel Princess Diana’s, she turned to collecting royal souvenirs to fill the void. Leaving her husband’s native England and relocating the family to her hometown in Pennsylvania doesn’t help the situation, and two decades later the house is a royal mess. Debbie’s safety is on the line, but she brushes off any attempts her family makes to help.
When Sarah’s brother gets a job on Stuff, a TV show about compulsive hoarding, he nominates their mother for an episode and promises his famous sister’s participation. Backed into a corner, Sarah and Debbie agree, but everyone has something at stake whether the episode does or doesn’t go off without a hitch. With both family and romantic relationships on the line–including the connection between Sarah and the show’s sexy host, and Debbie’s budding romance with a local shopkeeper–long-buried secrets and resentment must come to the surface for the family to move on.
A House Full of Windsor is a witty, fun book, with interesting characters and a unique premise that kept me turning the pages from the first chapter to the last. The title tells us exactly what the story is about–a woman who has hoarded royal memorabilia until her house is filled to bursting and her worried children plot an intervention. I like that we see the story from different points of view, and that we learn why Debbie, the hoarder, becomes a compulsive shopper of knick knacks, commemoratives, and whatnots. Her character is treated respectfully, and with sensitivity, and I liked that too.
Kristin Contino is a royal blogger based in the USA who writes beautifully and has an easy, reader friendly style. Royal watchers will recognize the history related to the collectibles mentioned in the story, and those like me, whose understanding of the royal family comes primarily from Netflix, will learn something new.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing for providing an ARC to read and review.
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3978584203