... did not deliver ... [the authors'] efforts become exhausting, bogging down the story with tedious details. The authors write that all information included in the book has at least two sources, but do not mention if the couple was involved. Scobie has insisted that they were not, and the Sussexes have also denied being interviewed or participating ... While the book offers no new bombshells, it does add small details to stories everyone thinks they already know ... a visit to George and Amal Clooney’s Lake Como home seems to serve only as a reminder that the royal couple is friends with the Clooneys. Too much space is dedicated to clarifying that, counter to what the British press claimed, Markle did not make the Duchess of Cambridge cry at a bridesmaid dress fitting. Five pages are spent explaining that Markle did not demand and then fail to receive the emerald tiara that she supposedly wanted for her wedding, another viral story from 2018 ... successfully illuminates Prince Harry’s obsession with the press. What has typically been described as Markle’s preoccupation with the media seems to be more of an issue for him ... The book also fails to explore how much it mattered within palace walls that Markle is Black ... does offer an alternative to the story line that has become a go-to for the couple’s detractors, in particular for those who argue that Markle is high maintenance and controlling, and has forced her husband to leave his family. Here she is presented as the independent woman who emboldened him to stand up for himself and do whatever it took to get what he wanted: a life outside the Firm.
For admirers of Harry and Meghan, Finding Freedom is 354 pages of sorbet: a dishy narrative that pushes back against media attacks while tracing the couple’s connection ... While fans of Harry and Meghan will undoubtedly enjoy the book’s unwaveringly positive portrayal of her angelic disposition and his emotional intelligence, those who sympathize with other relatives, or closely follow the royals are more likely to see the book as telling only part of the story — or as a means to air grievances against palace courtiers and Harry’s relatives ... he book says little about how the Windsors — as opposed to aides — viewed Meghan as a person of color. Although Meghan called herself a 'woman of color' in South Africa last fall, how she or Harry hoped to explore her — or Archie’s — heritage in their work is unclear.
Just as 1992’s Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words, by Andrew Morton, gave readers an intimate look at the royal family from the perspective of a disgruntled member of the firm, so this book repeats the trick with Diana’s younger son and his wife, Meghan Markle. What this semi-sequel lacks in novelty, it makes up for in cattiness (aimed largely – and this is the only real surprise of the book – at the woman born Kate Middleton, now known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge ... whereas Diana chose a tabloid hack as her Boswell, who knew a good story when he saw it, Harry and Meghan opted for two royal journalists. This means the reader is subjected to the Sylvie Krin style of writing that is de rigueur in the genre (I could just about stomach Harry and his 'famed ginger locks', but details of his and Meghan’s glamping trip to Botswana, on which 'their days were spent getting closer to nature and their evenings, closer to each other' made me briefly furious that the book hadn’t come with a health warning). Less forgivable than the predictable fluff is how the authors fluff the tale. Because Harry and Meghan definitely have a story to tell, but it is not the story in this book ... It is not Harry and Meghan’s fault that their book has come out in the middle of a global pandemic, but it does underscore their occasional tone deafness in the latter half of the book ... chokes the reader with banal details, yet it is opaque when it comes to real insights ... Despite all the fuming, the book is very cautious when it comes to the senior members of the royal family, and it’s interesting that it’s Kate who is the focus of the criticism rather than William. It may well be that, despite claiming he has finally found freedom, Harry is keeping a door open to his gilded cage. His mother could have told him that pulling punches doesn’t make for a satisfying book, but perhaps he also learned from her that burning bridges doesn’t make for an easy life.
... we get the pure, undiluted voice of H and M (as their staff call them). That makes this book an important contribution to the understanding of the biggest crisis in the royal family for more than 20 years. However, it is not necessarily an edifying experience, or indeed a reliable narrative. The main complaints, as far as one can tell, is that the Sussexes sometimes had to take a back seat in the royal pecking order when their proposals clashed with initiatives from Prince Charles or Prince William ... this book has only one story to tell: how Harry and Meghan are the innocent victims of a wicked Palace and an even more wicked media, and it’s all everyone else’s fault. It cries out for a decent account of how things really fell apart ... The prose has its Mills & Boon moments ... detail after exhausting detail: the food they ate, the designers she wore, the finer points of Meghan’s packing technique. There are some exclusive nuggets ... However, for a book that sets out to put the record straight, there are curious omissions. There is nothing on the controversy over why they refused to divulge the names of Archie’s godparents, or what happened when she had an apparent meltdown on an official engagement in a market in Fiji. Their decision to set up their Megxit website on the sly without telling any of the royal family is skimmed over ... Some of it is just plain wrong ... They deserve a better account than this.
The account of Meghan’s formative years sounds like something from the Lives of the Saints hagiographies. Did she ever do anything unkind, ill-judged or plain wrong? Not here. It feels primarily like a book about how great Meghan is, with interstices on Harry’s trials in being the younger brother to the heir to the throne ... Less is never more in Finding Freedom’s prose style ... For all the abundant absurdities and self-parody chronicled in lavish purple here, the Megs and Harry saga feels like a lost chance and an unfinished story.