King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village

King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village

by Peggielene Bartels, Eleanor Herman

Hardcover

$23.36 $25.95 Save 10% Current price is $23.36, Original price is $25.95. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385534321
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/21/2012
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

PEGGIELENE BARTELS was born in Ghana in 1953 and moved to Washington, DC, in her early twenties to work at Ghana's embassy. She became an American citizen in 1997. In 2008, she was chosen to be king of Otuam, a Ghanaian village of 7,000 people on the west coast of Africa. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, still works at the embassy, and spends several weeks each year in Ghana.
 
ELEANOR HERMAN is the author of three books of women's history, including the New York Times bestseller Sex with Kings and Sex with the Queen. Her profile of Peggy was a cover story for the Washington Post Magazine. She lives in McLean, Virginia.

Read an Excerpt

Excerpted from KING PEGGY: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman Copyright © 2012 by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
 
When the council meeting ended at six, the sun was just rising and the world outside was silver.  The elders returned to their fields to do some work before the day became too hot.  Peggy went to her room to rest a bit and saw a line of children with heavy metal buckets of water on their heads trudging down the path from the bore hole behind the house.  Some of them were headed for her kitchen. 

Auntie Esi stood next to Peggy as she gazed out the window.  “How far do they walk?” Peggy asked.

“There are only two bore holes, so the kids that live furthest away have to walk about a half hour in each direction.”

“An hour for a single bucket,” Peggy said quietly.

“And some kids make two or three trips before and after school.  Some walk for six hours a day.”

“Is the water clean at least?”

Auntie Esi shrugged.  “It’s not clean if you haul it from the pond.  That water is a yellowish-brown, and that’s what the entire town had to use when the pipes first broke in 1977.  But the local government representatives built two bore holes shortly after that which provide very clean water, though it costs money.  A few pennies a bucket.”

Peggy scowled.  “You mean they charge for clean water?”

Auntie Esi nodded.  “The pumps break down a lot, so they use the money to pay for repairs.”

“And the people who can’t afford the bore hole water drink the yellowish-brown water?”

Auntie Esi nodded again.  “They don’t get sick from it, though.  For hundreds of years before the British brought piped water, people in Otuam got all their water from the pond.  Many believe the goddess of the pond purifies the water and keeps them healthy.”

Peggy sighed, a deep sigh that came from the soul and rumbled through her entire body.  Evidently the pond contained one of the seventy-seven gods and goddesses known to protect Otuam.  But even so, no American king could allow her people to drink that disgusting water.  And besides, it was well known that sometimes nature gods and goddesses left their ancient spots without a word of warning.  If the goddess left, those drinking the water would sicken and even die.  She would have to get those kids more bore holes, free bore holes, and eventually fix the pipes.  How on earth was she going to afford it?

Auntie Esi put her weathered hand on Peggy’s shoulder.  “You will fix the water later,” she said.  “Remember the sparrow, who builds her nest one twig at a time.  We are going to eat breakfast now, and after that we are going to give you your first royal etiquette lesson.  You don’t want to disgrace the stool by doing something inappropriate for a Ghanaian king.”  After breakfast, the aunties taught Peggy how to walk majestically.  A king, they said, was never to show any hurry.  The whole world waited for a king.  Flapping around here and there like a chicken was undignified.

Auntie Esi strolled at a glacial pace down the hall, head up, shoulders back.  “Like this, Nana.  You bounce around too much and go too fast.”

“In the US, if I walked that slowly I would be hit by a car,” Peggy pointed out.  “No one there would wait for me to cross the street.  They would run me down, and as I bounced on the asphalt they would keep on going so they wouldn’t be late for a meeting.”

Auntie Esi smiled.  “But there are very few cars in Otuam, and here they wouldn’t run over their king.  Try it again, slowly.”

Peggy sighed.  Give just a hint of a smile, they said, showing regal serenity.  Shoulders relaxed.  Head held high.  Chin up.  Slow, straight, determined steps.  Self-consciously, she walked back and forth in front of them, like an awkward aspiring model training for the runway. 

“Too fast!” cried one.

“Hold your chin higher!” said another.

“You’re frowning!” said Auntie Esi.  “Don’t frown in public.”

“Don’t frown?” Peggy asked.  “What if I see something I don’t like?”

“Don’t frown!” Auntie Esi repeated.  “You can make a mental note of the problem and deal with it later.”

“Oh.”

“And you can’t eat or drink in public.  It’s unseemly for a king to be shoving things into her face.  Plus, if there is a witch in the crowd watching you she can make you choke to death on whatever you’re consuming.”

Peggy had heard about the no-eating-in-public rule, though she was unaware it had to do with witches.  It made sense, though, that witches, known as vengeful, jealous creatures, would want to harm a king, especially one who stood for the good.  Witches created havoc for the sheer malicious pleasure of it, and you never knew who in your village was a witch.  Sudden illnesses, childhood deaths, accidents: they might all be traced back to the kindly old grandmother next door or the jovial uncle down the street.  Only a traditional priest, using tried and true rituals, could determine if bad luck was caused by the ancestors punishing selfish behavior or by a witch making trouble for good people, and then prescribe the proper rituals to take care of it. 

Peggy sighed again.  As king, she had to worry whether Uncle Joseph would haunt her for not burying him in a timely manner.  She had to remain vigilant against evil spirits who might zoom into her.  And now she had to defend herself against spiteful jealous witches who could be anywhere.  Not eating or drinking in public was simple compared to these more troubling issues.

“In Otuam I will abide by this rule,” she said.  “But in the US, we all work so much that we have to grab a bite in public sometimes because when we get home it is too late to cook.  And no one there knows I am a king.”

“They know at the embassy.  One of them might be a witch.  And even if they aren’t, it would be undignified to stuff your face even there.”

Witches.  At the embassy.  Looking back on her twenty-nine years there, Peggy realized this could explain a lot of things.

“And Nana,” Auntie Esi said, “the king can’t argue in public.”

“Argue in public?” she said, all wide-eyed innocence.  Surely they hadn’t heard anything of her arguments at the embassy.  “Me?’

Cousin Comfort chimed in, “Nana, we all know that even since you were a small child, when someone misbehaves, you can’t let it go.”

“When you see an injustice,” Cousin Comfort continued, “you are like a village dog with his jaws locked on a bone.  You just don’t give it up.  But as king you will have to deal with these things in the council chamber, and not yell at people on the street or beat them with brooms.”  The aunties all laughed at that one.

Auntie Esi said, “And if you are wearing the crown and want to say a crude thing, you have to take it off before you speak so as not to dishonor it.”

“And there’s one more thing,” Auntie Esi added.  “It is not regal for a king to always be running off to the bathroom.  When you have official events, we will give you a special dish that takes away the urge to urinate for the entire day.  Still, it is best not to drink much before or during.  Just a little water so you don’t faint in the heat.”

The heat.  Though it was still early, the delicious coolness of the night had vanished, replaced by a stultifying miasma of sticky air.  During the etiquette lesson, Peggy and her aunties had glowed at first, then perspired, and now the sweat was running down their faces in rivulets.

Peggy knew that the best drink to stave off the heat was beer, which Ghanaians drank in the morning as the heat rose.  But beer was also the very drink to make you most want to run to the toilet.  Peggy remembered an American comedian who once said, It’s good to be da king.  Except in Otuam the king would have to be thirsty, and hot, with a bursting bladder and witches putting hexes on her.  Maybe it wasn’t always good to be the king of Otuam.

“And another thing,” Auntie Esi said, “As an American, you probably brought deodorant.  But here people cut a lemon in half and rub the two halves all over their bodies.  They let the lemon juice sink in, and a while later they bathe with soap and water.  This works better than deodorant.”   For lunch they had the staple food of Otuam – fresh fish deep fried, on white rice, and covered with a spicy onion and tomato sauce.  They would be eating it for lunch and dinner for Peggy’s entire stay.  In the US she often didn’t think twice about the wide range of food she had and would have complained if she had to eat the same thing all day long.  Africans could enjoy the same meal again and again and be grateful for it.

“By God’s grace, the people here are never hungry,” Auntie Esi explained as they dove into their meal.  “They are very poor, and don’t possess much, and they have to haul water.  But there is plenty of food.  Nana, you should see the dozens of fishing canoes that come in every morning, their nets heavy with fish.  And the farms produce beautiful pineapples, papayas, coconuts, plantains, and cassavas.”

That was indeed a blessing.  While the other problems were vexing, hunger among Peggy’s people would have devastated her.  The people of Otuam would never be hungry, and living in Ghana they would certainly never be cold.

Table of Contents

Map of King Peggy's Village of Otuam, Ghana ix

Prologue 1

Part I Washington, D.C., August-September 2008 3

Part II Ghana, September 2008 53

Part III Washington, D.C., October 2008-September 2009 125

Part IV Ghana, September-November 2009 145

Part V Washington, D.C., November 2009-September 2010 237

Part VI Ghana, September-October 2010 263

Epilogue 327

Authors' Note 329

Acknowledgments 331

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

King Peggy 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is really interesting. Its quite a learning experience while being both amazing and often funny. Its one of my favorites.
Heidi_G More than 1 year ago
I can't recommend the audio version enough! The characters in Peggy's memoir really come to life in the spoken version, superbly voiced by J. Karen Thomas. In addition to being an interesting story about an American secretary becoming the king of a town in Ghana, the depiction of local culture is fascinating--the pouring of libations at ceremonies and the special stool on which the king sits in particular. Opening the book after hearing the story was an added benefit to see photos of the relatives Peggy speaks of in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I traveled to Ghana this last summer and visited many of the places that Peggy speaks about. Her account of cultures is accurate and strengthened my understandings. I felt as if I was back in Ghana, with the happiest and most loving people I have ever encountered. One day I hope to return!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book and I really admire King Peggy! She is amazing!
duckbunny9 More than 1 year ago
I THINK THIS WAS AN AWESOME BOOK AND I HAVE RECOMMENDED TO MY FRIENDS AND RELATIVES TO READ.
blessusagain More than 1 year ago
I found it interesting that a king could be a women. I truly enjoyed reading this book. And to think this is a true story. The Lord sure has blessed her. She has done great things for her country. I hope this will be a contiued story.
IDICworld More than 1 year ago
Told in a very engaging style and as a personal narrative, this tale of surprize, strength, hope, and determination was inspiring to read. Uniquely weaving 2 cultures together - in more ways than one! - the story of King Peggy provides a model for women in any society who are struggling for equality, good government, and a better future for our children. Even in the US, where we think of ourselves as oh so civilized and advanced, there is much to be learned from the simple act of doing what is right.
OmaBecky More than 1 year ago
Easy to read and thouroughly enjoyable, I loved this book because it inspires hope and encourages action. Ms Bartels sets a wonderful example for all women everywhere. Look around you. See what needs to be done to make it better, and then, make it happen.
heavyreader12 More than 1 year ago
I loved the words, story, and the sentiments. The story was inspirational and enlightening. A great read.
Alliebadger on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I really enjoyed this book. This could easily have been a "look how great I am" sort of story, but it in fact it wasn't at all. It's told from a third-person perspective, which makes it read much more like a story. It's written so well that it really does seem like a Mma Ramotswe story. I was inspired by Peggy, her people, the Shiloh Baptist Church, and Ms. Herman. This is a fascinating glimpse into a traditional African culture and the people who make good things happen for others.
nyiper on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I can see how the co-author Eleanor Herman felt a relationship to Alexander McCall Smith when she became the scribe for this story. The pictures she helps develop about exactly what is happening are extremely descriptive. I think what upset me about the story was the dominance, eventually, of the outside group---the American missionary effort---as they 'helped" with money and adoption and building things, including a church. And then to see that King Peggy "converted," in the Epilogue----bought and sold by the religion---very disappointing. Of course a lot of what she has done would have been impossible without this "help" but it came at a pretty big price in my view. The richness of her own culture will be overwhelmed over time by a different sort of power.
Liz1564 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
The was an Early Review copy. Thank you.This book makes a joyful noise! King Peggy is the story of an American secretary who finds herself chosen king of a village in Ghana. How she handles her responsibilities, institutes changes, and fights the pervasive corruption is truly inspiring.Peggy Bartels left Ghana as a young woman, first for London, and then for the US where she became a secretary in the Ghanaian embassy, Twenty-five years later, she is awakened in the middle of the night with the news that her uncle has died and she has been chosen as his heir. Her village had never had a female king and it was surprising that the ancestors would pick her over the many male candidates who lived in the area. When Peggy arrives in Otuam she is shocked by how little the people have: no easy access to clean water; no high school or library; no way to get sick people to a hospital. The king's palace is in ruins and the roads leading to Otuam are barely passable, There is not a dime in the municipal treasury, even though taxes have been collected and government land sold, since her elders and advisers have been using the money to line their own pockets.How she manages to assert her authority, even though she is a woman and a "foreigner," makes a remarkable adventure. Through sheer will power she begins the process of taking her little kingdom into the 21st century, while, at the same time, honoring the ancient traditions of her people. There is a great deal in the book about the customs, religion, and rituals in Otuam. Peggy was "enstooled," not crowned, because the stool held the essence of kingly power and actually had to have ritual sacrifices of alcohol offered to it. (Although Peggy's stool preferred Coca-Cola for a while!) The ancestors are a very real presence who speak to Peggy and her subjects in dreams and sometimes even in clear voices during the day. Friendly spirits live in the fresh water wells and in old refrigerators they keep running, Curses are very real. The book ends on such an optimistic note that I hope there will be sequels so I can read of the further adventures of a king in Ghana who happens to be an outspoken American woman.
MrsLee on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This is a fascinating tale. The story of a woman born in Ghana, who became an American citizen, then was chosen to be King of her community in Ghana. It began a bit stilted, but the tone and pace improved as the story deepened. King Peggy is a secretary at the Ghanian embassy during her time in the United States. When she arrives in her village, she discovers that there is a deep current of decay within her council. It is rare for a woman to be chosen as King, but she is convinced that in spite of evil intentions on the part of some members of her council, God and the ancestors chose her for this purpose. She sets forth in faith to be the best King she is capable of being, bringing to her people basic things like water, ambulance service and education. The task is daunting on her small salary, and she seems to be impeded on every side by graft, tradition and greed. At times, the depth of depravity in those who worked against her was jaw-dropping. However, not only is she setting out to bring good to her people, she is also on a journey of discovery. Discovery of what she is capable of, her limitations, the strength of her faith, and her capacity to forgive.This story does a fine job of presenting the many sides of African natures and the differences between American culture and African culture. It points out that although there is monetary poverty in Africa, in many ways the people are richer in spirit than the Americans they admire. Their sense of family is strong and they take time to listen and enjoy life. It also points out the darker side of deception and bribery which runs deep in some rulers and corrupts. This is not confined to Africa!I enjoyed this story, it was inspiring, instructive and a good adventure tale as well.
NewsieQ on LibraryThing 7 months ago
At first, Peggy Bartels thought it was a joke. The 2008 phone call from her native Ghana delivered the news that she had been selected King of Otuam, an impoverished fishing village of a few thousand souls. There she was: a secretary in the Ghanaian embassy in Washington, D.C., an American citizen, the owner of a condo with a mortgage that was under water. Otuam had been ruled by her late Uncle Joseph, so poor that Peggy sent him money every month to help him get by. The royal palace was in ruins and, as King Peggy soon found out, the council of elders that ruled the village was corrupt to its core. And the treasury had a zero balance. The financial burden of rehabbing the palace ¿ required so as not to dishonor her ancestors ¿ and giving the late King a spectacular funereal send-off would be on Peggy¿s shoulders. Leaving a trusted cousin in place as her regent while she returns to America, Peggy agonizes over how she is going to provide running water to her village, build a high school, fund a library ¿ and pave the potholed roads. King Peggy is a story of her first two years as king. Although the book blurb compared King to Alexander McCall Smith¿s African detective Precious Ramotswe, King Peggy is in a category all by herself, one that she needn¿t share with a fictional character. No, King Peggy is the real deal. This book is definitely an autobiography, but it¿s written in third person, which I found odd at first. But King Peggy gives readers a snapshot of a culture that¿s worlds away from ours in America. We may read about Africa in newspapers, see it on the news ¿King Peggy gives much more insight into the lives of ordinary Ghanaians, and the extraordinary life of one of its kings. Review based on published-provided copy of King Peggy.
ellenflorman on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This is a remarkable book about a remarkable woman. It is the true story of Peggielene Bartels,a middle aged secretary at The Ghanian Embassy in Washington D.C. She is awoken at 4 A.M. one morning by a phone call informing her that she has just been chosen to be the new King of Otaum, a village of 7,000 in Ghana.Her uncle had been their king and had recently passed away. The rest of the book looks at her amazing journey as she fights the deep rooted corruption of the male elders to bring basics such as water and education to her people. It is a story with many twists and turns and is full of intrigue. It is one of those true stories that is truly stranger than fiction. It is a page turner and definite "must read." I highly recommend it!
sarah-e on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Peggy is a tough lady, transformed overnight from an embassy secretary in Washington to ruler of a neglected town in Ghana. For a good portion of the book Peggy seems insecure and hotheaded, but as she grows to embody her title she becomes a shrewd, capable leader. She summons incredible strength to face the opposition she finds in Ghana. I would probably run and hide if people put me through the things she experiences - she is quite a lady, and the community embraces her as a good king. I wish this had been written from Peggy's perspective instead of using a third person POV. Some passages left me feeling like I was listening to someone talk about her behind her back, and some of the insecurity of her character might have been strengthened by that difference. I highly recommend this to any reader interested in Africa or memoirs in general.
kqueue on LibraryThing 7 months ago
King Peggy is a truly inspiring memoir of Peggy Bartels, a Washington DC secretary who is also known as King Nana Amuah-Afenyi VI, the king of Otuam, a fishing village in Ghana. Peggy was chosen to be king by the tribal elders in a ceremony where they consulted the ancestral spirits. It is unusual, though not entirely unprecedented, for a woman to be chosen as a king in Ghana, and Peggy was a favorite of her deceased uncle the former king. Peggy's kingship, however, is not a fairy tale. Her palace is crumbling, her royal treasury is in the red, and her people lack access to decent schools, clean water and medical care. She must deal with her elders' deep-seated attitudes towards women, corruption and greed before she can begin helping her people. With strength, humor and forgiveness, she does overcome these obstacles and begins to turn her village around. Her story is told in the third-person by co-author Eleanor Herman, which, coupled with the colorful idioms and the folklore of Ghana, give this book a fable-like feel when reading it. You will come away from reading this book feeling buoyed by Peggy's optimism, cheering for her successes and wishing her all the best for the future. A truly feel-good read.
GShuk on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This audio takes you inside the head of an ordinary person who goes from being a secretary to a king. It is non-fiction but reads like a novel. Her brutal honesty is at the same level of someone on the TV show like Dr. Phil. (I always wonder why anyone would get so personal in public.) Her journey had many challenges but her passion and commitment help overcome them. This is one of the many reasons you want her to succeed. This audio gives you an inside look at the culture, some issues facing villages in Africa as well as how someone¿s beliefs in spirits affect their decisions. It was interesting hearing how and why she would work with corrupt elders. While I recommend this audio an abridged version would be better for she repeats herself a fair bit.
Electablue on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This story of how Peggy Bartels, a secretary at the Ghanian Embassy in Washington, D.C. became the king of village in Ghana made for a great read. I knew almost nothing about Ghana and learned a lot about its history and the book is made up of all kinds of characters. Anyone who enjoyed the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency should enjoy this true life tale.
dele2451 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
An interesting and often amusing story of a humble secretary who found herself in the unlikely situation of being the 1st female king of a poor African fishing village located on the Ghana coast. I especially appreciate how the authors were able to accurately relate how even relatively small acts of selfish greed and corruption can significantly impair the health and progress of an entire population. King Peggy's accomplishments in ending decades of systemic fraud and embezzlement is living proof that, while it is sometimes painful, one honest and determined person (even one without much accumulated monetary wealth) can make a difference in the lives of many in just a short time. There is not much to criticize in this book, although I found the frequent references to Peggy's absent ex-husband detracted a bit from the overall pace and impact of the story. Many thanks to Doubleday and Early Reviewers for making King Peggy available to LT readers. I'd recommend this book to anyone, but especially to those interested/involved in humanitarian endeavors and cultural studies.
meldridge on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This story was slow at the beginning and then picked up. It is a heart-warming and often humorous light read. While it shows some negatives that King Peggy had to deal with, as well as heart ache and frustration, ultimately she is able to begin accomplishing some of her goals for the improvement of the town. It also gives a glimpse into family, culture, religion and life in what appears to be a typical impoverished African village. I would recommend it to those who like feel-good non-fiction stories.
buriedinbooks on LibraryThing 7 months ago
A Review of King Peggy by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor HermanI received this book through the Early Reviewers program and was pleased with its prompt delivery. The copy I received stated it was a ¿bound galley - not for sale¿ but I was glad to find that it was remarkably free of typos or other errors (I have read many finished books that had more errors than this galley).The subtitle of this book reads ¿An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village.¿ Peggy is an African-American¿born and raised in Ghana but now working as a secretary at the Ghanian embassy in Washington D. C.¿and also king of Ottaum, a village in Ghana. This book tells the fascinating story of how Peggy came to live this dual existence. Several months after Peggy¿s uncle, the former king of Ottaum, died, she received a phone call telling her that she had been chosen by the king¿s elders and ancestors to be the next king. Peggy was not sure she could do this, since she lived in America, but a visit to Ottaum showed her that the village needed her¿a strong, honest woman¿to lead it. Gradually, over time, she learned that many of her elders were cheating and stealing the king¿s money: money that the village desperately needed for improvement like clean water and a library. Peggy was beset by many difficulties and challenge¿including the discovery that some of the elders had wanted her to be king because they thought she would allow them to continue their dishonest practices since she lived in America and was a woman. However she gradually won the respect and love of the villagers and was able to stop the scamming and cheating of her dishonest elders, thus establishing a village government the villagers could trust. She also was able to bring needed improvements to the village.One of the things I appreciated most about this book was how it showed the differences between American and Ghanian culture. Peggy saw that Africans had time to sit on the porch and talk with friends and family or listen to the birds singing. Americans keep in touch with others through many push-button devices, but those same gadgets keep them from connecting to the people they are with at the moment¿she had seen families at restaurants in America, eating at the same table, but not talking together, just pushing buttons on their phones or other devices. Americans are rich in so many obvious ways, but Africans¿although poor in obvious ways¿are rich in ways that Americans are not. The only quibble I had with the book is that I feel it was written too early in Peggy¿s kingship. I wish it had been written a few years from now, so we could see even more of what she will accomplish in the months and years to come. It seemed that it ended just as she was beginning to see some victories and I was curious to know what other improvements she would bring about and what challenges she would face. However, I still found the book extremely interesting and highly recommend it.
BookAngel_a on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Peggy Bartels was born in Ghana, but lived and worked in the USA for over 30 years. One day she received a phone call saying that her village king was dead, and she had been chosen to be the next king.Peggy decided to accept the kingship. But the village had many serious problems, worst of all the corruption of the village elders. This book tells the story of how King Peggy battled those problems and brought many blessings to her village.I was pulled into the story - angered along with Peggy at the corruption and theft, and I rejoiced with Peggy when she won an important battle. It is inspiring to read about someone working so hard to make a change in people's lives.Recommended for those who are interested in Africa or who like encouraging true life stories.(I received this book through Amazon's Vine Program.)
clamairy on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Quite simply one of the sweetest and funniest Early Reviewers books I've ever received. (And I have received quite a few!) It does get off to a bit of a slow start, for which I deducted half a star. Once it gets going though, watch out. This is non-fiction, but reads like a novel in may places. No one could possibly expect the twists and turns King Peggy faces, especially from her own council of elders. Hilarious, informative and, well, just plain ol' inspiring at the same time. P.S. This is a must read for those who love The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.
arielfl on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Thank you to Library Thing and Doubleday for providing me with an advance copy of this book to review.I love the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series and if you are as big a fan of Precious Ramotwse as I am then you will adore this book as well. Although King Peggy is not a detective she embodies the same thirst for justice and love of her African people that makes Madame Ramotwse so endearing.The story begins in Washington DC when secretary Peggy receives a 4 a.m. phone call from Ghana, Africa informing her that she has just become King because the ancestors have picked her through a steaming bottle of Schnapps. After much soul searching Peggy decides to accept the position but finds out that she may have bitten off more than she can chew. For one thing the elders do not respect women and basically dismiss her orders. For another they are corrupt and are stealing all of the money that Peggy would use to improve the lives of her people. Peggy's trials as King are sometimes humorous and her solutions are bold and clever. Fortunately for Peggy she does find some people in Africa that she can trust and the transformation that she is able to make in the town is truly astounding. Check out Peggy's page on Facebook. I enjoyed seeing the pictures of the people in the book and the town. Long live the King!