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Untold story : a novel
Monica Ali
Adult Fiction ALI

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Ali (Brick Lane) tackles a juicy premise: what if Diana hadn't died. Far from a salacious romp, though, this is a (sometimes too) slow character study of a woman in extraordinary circumstances. Here, Diana-err, Lydia-has escaped her life as an ex-princess for a new one in the states. All the real details of her previous life-carefully researched and extrapolated from-are there, with one exception; having survived the car accident, she later fakes her death (by drowning) and finds her way, via Brazil, to America. She ends up, on a darkly humorous whim, in an anonymous everytown called Kensington, where she builds a quiet life with her dog, Rufus, a job at an animal shelter, and a tight group of friends. When a British paparazzo stumbles into her town, though, her new life is threatened. This tense development is almost a subplot, overtaken as it is by Lydia's emotional exploration-how she was nearing the edge before her "death," how unbearable but necessary it was for her to leave her sons, how she has matured and recovered over the years. The result is a very human rendering of a mythical woman who survives a tumultuous youth to find an aggressively calm middle age. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

In Ali's (Brick Lane) latest novel, Princess Diana has faked her own death and is living under an assumed name, Lydia, in Kensington, a small American town. She has four stock-character friends and a boyfriend to whom she can't commit, for fear of revealing her secret. Now, a paparazzo may have found her. The novel is narrated from three perspectives: Lydia's, on her life in the suburbs; a series of journal entries by Lawrence, Lydia's private secretary and accomplice, as well as correspondence between Lydia and Lawrence; and by John "Grabber" Grabowski, the paparazzo who made his name taking pictures of Diana. VERDICT Readers who are not already invested in the Princess Diana story will not have much to work with here. The lackluster character development and absence of tension make this a bit of a slog. As a celebrity novel, it is more successful. Fans of Diana may appreciate the bland character as it allows them to flesh out the Princess of Wales with their own ideas.-Pamela Mann, St. Mary's Coll. of Maryland (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Lydia
Believed those around her were plotting her assassination; staged her own death; began a new life under an assumed identity; hiding her true identity as Diana, Princess of Wales; volunteers at an animal shelter; misses her children.

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