***Short-listed for the Prix du Premier roman***
***Translation sample available***
Mon roi, mon amour takes place all in one day, May 31, 1906, the wedding day of King Alphonso XIII of Spain to British Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg. As the royal procession snakes its way slowly through Madrid, the cheering of the crowd and the decorum and fanfare of the retinue masks the sinister assassination plot awaiting the young couple just before their gilded carriage enters the palace gates.
This true historic event inspired Pagani’s at times funny, always suspenseful, and poignant novel, which he tells from the outsider’s point of view, that of the young bride. He imagines what she must be thinking as the new queen of a country whose language she doesn’t yet speak, who feels alone, forsaken by her family and loved ones, and very afraid. During the painfully slow procession, she wonders when she’ll ever be allowed a moment to use the bathroom, and how, if and when she is, she’ll ever manage, what with the enormous train and veil and the layers of fabric to remove. She wonders why Alphonso picked her out of the eight choices he had. Above all, she runs through everything she has ever known about what happens on the wedding night, which consists of a page and a half out of a forbidden novel and vague hints from friends and cousins on the mechanics of “it.”