The last few months have seen the publication of many books and articles and airing of lots of TV shows about Diana, Princess of Wales who died twenty years ago this past August. These shows and articles usually examine Diana’s final days and explain what effect her death and funeral had on both her close family and the country in general. Diana Survivor is rather different to many of these publications, firstly because it is a novel and secondly because, in the book, Diana wakes up in Paris after surviving the car crash.
The book, by author Dean Dudley, was first published three years ago, but a special edition for the anniversary of Diana’s death has recently been released. The author says that the book was created for “everyone who still misses Diana and wonders what might have happened if she had lived”.
Although the book is not entirely historically accurate, because real stories have been intertwined with fiction, it has been well researched. The story tracks Diana’s progress as she recovers from her accident and snippets of information come back to her from the past as she regains her memory. Through these flashbacks, the author has managed to tie in stories from Diana’s youth, her marriage to Charles and also fictionalised accounts which make the book more entertaining.
Whilst the book is funny and gripping, it is also easy to forget that the story is about Diana, Princess of Wales at times, as the life that the Diana in the book leads after waking up from her accident is rather different to what we are used to. Diana’s life in the book is rather far-fetched and the way she writes her diaries, whilst entertaining and engaging, can also seem unlikely as there is a lot of sexual content and explicit language. If this were a supposedly true historical account, then portraying the Princess in such a light could be deemed disrespectful, but Dean Dudley gets away with it by making it clear that it is a work of fiction.
As a story, the book is an engaging read. The tale is full of unexpected events and twists; from Diana giving birth to the child of Dodi al-Fayed and moving to the USA to a dark plot involving terrorism and kidnap in the wake of the 9/11 attack. If you are looking for an accurate or academic portrayal of Diana’s life, then this book is not for you. If, however, you are a fan of Diana’s who has always wondered what might have happened if she had lived, then Diana Survivor offers the glimpse into a what may have been that many people have been thinking about.