Skip to main content

Reality reading (with a royal flair)


September 30, 2012




Apart from a five-bedroom Georgian home in Surrey (England), a volunteer career in church bell ringing/flower arranging and an easily inflenced parrot named Darcy, Constance Harding has one great gift: the ability to see things as they aren’t.

A husband who neglects her, an incompetent housekeeper whose knickers tend to nest in said-husband’s study, a bell-ringing buddy with a mysterious crush on a very married woman, a son with a secret that Mummy definitely doesn’t want to hear… oh, it’s just so much easier, and funnier to rise above it all. What Constance does see is that there’s nothing wrong with a little well-meant meddling on behalf of those she loves best--until it starts backfire without the back-up of reality.

A Surrey State of Affairs has one eye-opener after another in store for Ceri Radford’s dotty heroine. And Constance, when the chips are down, has a bit more backbone than even she could predict.





There’s no escaping reality for Elizabeth II. In Richard Brassey’s The Queen, a young Elizabeth tries to have tea incognito at the YWCA in Tottenham Court Road. When told she’d have to carry her own teapot to the table, the princess was quickly recognized—so much for a quiet outing and the blissful freedom of an afternoon’s anonymity.

With only a few hundred words to work with, Brassey charmingly illustrates a balance of big facts (in 2015 Queen Elizabeth will be the Commonwealth’s longest reigning monarch) with personal details (do not touch the corgis!) making The Queen easy for all ages to relate to and a fine tribute in this Jubilee year.


In 2008, reality for the new King of Otuam--a town of 7,000 in Ghana--was a kingdom with no running water, pot-holed roads, limited education for many children, a crumbling palace, no doctor and no public funds to do anything about any of it. A council of ineffective (at best) and corrupt (more the case) advisors were not going to make it easy for King Peggy. But their hopes that as an ex-pat living in Washington, D.C. Peggielene Bartels might turn a blind eye to their dark dealings were quickly dashed when their new ruler decided enough was enough.

With determination and true belief in the potential of her people, King Peggy achieves a royal turnaround in Otuam and creates a shining example of what is possible when one steps up, way up, to the throne.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"Indian Horse" by Richard Wagamese

“You go somewhere when you’re on the ice,”  Virgil said to me after one practice.  “It’s like watching you walk into a secret place  that no one else knows how to get to.”
Hockey is the saving grace of young Saul Indian Horse’s life. Lost to his family and orphaned in his grandmother’s arms, eight-year-old Saul is discovered at an icy railroad stop in northern Ontario and stolen away to spend the next six years at St. Jerome’s Indian Residential School.
“St. Jerome’s took all the light from my world,” Saul remembers. He saw children die of abuse or suicide, with whatever they had to take themselves away from hell on earth: a pitchfork; rocks to weigh down a dress in water; rope to swing from the rafters of a barn. Anything, even death, was better than the despair of suffering the school’s daily humiliations.
It is a hockey ice rink, built at St. Jerome’s during Saul’s second winter, that saves him. In the years that follow, the crack of light opened by hockey will widen to include fr…

"The Game of Life" by Rosalys Buckles Thorndike Wilson

“The game of life has been enjoyable and rewarding, and I have competed to the best of my ability.”—from The Game of Life by Rosalys Buckles Thorndyke Wilson
A long life, as Rosalys “Rosie” Buckles Thorndike Wilson looks back upon it, is like a basketball game. It’s played in four quarters (a sport she learned growing up in rural Indiana, where all you needed was a was a hoop on a wall and a ball that had some bounce) with a little time-out in between.

Rosie’s first quarter started out on a small, 20-acre farm near Etna, Indiana. Baths were taken once-a-week in a galvanized tub in front of the kitchen wood stove. There were the requisite chores including chasing down dinner (which, on a fried chicken night, involved catching and decapitating a hen before dipping it quickly in boiling water and then plucking off all its feathers). There was a pony named “Beauty”; “Fluffy” the long-haired cat; “Spot” the rat terrier; “Fuzzy” the baby raccoon and “Duke” a horse retired by the U.S. Caval…

“Something is Always on Fire: My Life so Far” by Measha Brueggergosman

“What I want now is to trust God to bring me through the fire and know that what doesn’t kill me makes me mad, and what makes me mad keeps me moving, and if I’m moving, I’m going to do so with purpose and effectiveness…” from Something is Always on Fire: My Life so Far by Measha Brueggergosman (c. 2017)
A world-class soprano’s highs are very high indeed. Singing for The Queen. Performing the prayer hymn at the 2010 Olympics. Her breathtaking voice and charismatic personality have made Measha Brueggergosman a star many times over.

But then there are the lows that should be out of register, except that they are not. The end of her marriage. Stillborn twins. Open-heart surgery.

And the middle range, that is, daily life. Struggling to fasten the car seat buckles of her two young sons. Never ending bills to pay. The daily exhaustion of balancing family and career. The sandwich that “doesn’t make itself while you binge-watch Scandal.

“Yes, I may create the illusion that the energy is there…