Saturday, January 14, 2012

King Peggy by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman

From Secretary to Royalty! It reads like the title of one of the many paperback romances I re-shelve every day, but the kingship of Peggielene Bartels is not a romantic journey but a triumphant one.

Peggy Bartels, a secretary in the embassy of Ghana in Washington D.C., was claimed as king by the elders of the town of Otuam because of the urging of the long-past ancestors or because of the scheming of the elders or because she was chosen by God or perhaps all of the above. Whatever the means, Peggy found herself suddenly responsible for some 7,000 people in a town across the ocean, her “palace” in ruins, and her financial obligations, including paying the fees for maintaining the “late king in the fridge,” ever-mounting.

Finding the resources to improve the education and living conditions of her people would have been challenging enough without the interference of embezzling and/or power-hungry and/or mentally ill relatives and advisors, but Peggy had the added challenge of only being able to visit Otuam for about two months out of every year. She had to keep her “day job” to help finance all the traditional ceremonial obligations of her position.

King Peggy, co-written by Ms. Bartels and Eleanor Herman, has some of the writing issues typical in co-authored memoirs, but if the writing is occasionally meh, the story is definitely worth reading. King Peggy is due to be released in February.

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