'Untold Story' imagines a still-living Princess Di


What if?

A powerful question that sometimes requires powerful thought in answering.

So, imagine, what if Diana, Princess of Wales, had not died, but instead had staged her death and escaped into anonymity?

In Monica Ali's new novel, “Untold Story,” this question is addressed in an intriguing story filled with twists and turns and “what ifs.”

It could be said that Lydia was “born again.” Once one of the most sought-after women in the world, she quietly assumes a new identity in Kensington, a small Midwestern town, posing as a divorcee in hiding from an abusive husband.

Lydia purposely makes sure her new life is as opposite of her former as she possibly can, including drastically redoing her appearance. She manages to come across as sweet but a bit dull, beautiful but low on self-esteem. Always lonely in her previous existence, she now surrounds herself with activities as well as a group of loyal female friends who don't pry. Her one regret is leaving her two sons behind.

Her boyfriend, Carson, wants to know more than Lydia feels she can safely reveal, so though he helps to keep her company, he also causes her continuous mental and emotional turmoil.

When John Grabowski, a British photojournalist on sabbatical to write a book, turns up at the local Kensington bed-and-breakfast, the tension in Lydia’s life begins to mount.

Despite the changes in Lydia’s appearance, Grabowski, who had photographed her during the crazy years before her "death,” recognizes the former princess by her unusual eyes — brilliant blue with just a touch of green. If Lydia is who he thinks she is, the story would be the scoop of his life, but he soon finds out what this woman is really made of and the lengths she will go to save her new way of life.

For anyone who was a fan of Princess Diana and remembers the years of absolute torment she endured, "Untold Story” is a difficult book to read. We all know that Princess Diana is resting in peace, but as long as there is attention on the royal family that she was once a part of, there will always be the question “what if she had lived?”