Meghan Markle’s book The Bench savaged by critics in series of brutal reviews

Meghan Markle’s first foray into children’s fiction has received a scathing critical reception from some quarters, with one reviewer calling the book "mind-bogglingly" bad.

Fans of the Duchess have bought the book in their droves and posted gushing tributes online. But professional book critics have been less kind.

Sophie McBain, writing the New Statesman, describes the book as a beautiful gift for Prince Harry, but not for anyone else.

One of her colleagues described the brutal review as a "kind hatchet job" and a "gentle beating".

McBain says it’s likely that Meghan has fallen into a common trap for new parents, including becoming over-confident after making up a few stories for their own offspring and starting to wonder hard it could be to write a children's book.

But the result, she says is unintentionally comical.

"It is mind-boggling, how bad the book is," she wrote.

Claire Allfree, writing in the Daily Telegraph agreed, saying that it’s a wonder any publisher could have considered publishing "this grammar-defying set of badly rhyming cod homilies".

The Times’s Alex O’Connell also thinks that The Duchess of Sussex may have been aiming at her husband, rather than small children from the surprisingly wide one to seven age group the publishers recommend.

"It reads as if it has been penned as a self-help manual for needy parents rather than as a story to entertain small kids," she wrote.

Speaking to True Royalty TV's The Royal Beat, royal expert Angela Levin agreed that the book’s overall themes are more suitable for sentimental parents than for excitement-craving children.

She said: "They like elephants, they like nasty tigers.

"They do not want a lecture about how different your relationship is with your father, whatever level of society you are at."

Where to buy Meghan Duchess of Sussex's children's book 'The Bench'

Buy now from Amazon for £9.99

Buy now from WHSmith for £9.99

Buy now from Waterstones for £9.99

Buy now from Afrori for £12.90

The Evening Standard's Emily Phillips was a little kinder, saying: "The Duchess’s writing is soothing, loving, although a little schmaltzy in places, but did at one point bring a tear to my eye."

In the US, few major reviewers have covered the book, perhaps explaining why it’s hovering at around Number 100 on Amazon's US sales chart. In the UK it’s managed a rather more respectable Top 40 entry.

But Amazon customers have been as scathing as the professionals, with one writing simply: "This book is bland. No characters, no story, no substance."

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