The brief summary of this book is that the Queen's corgis go for a run and find the mobile library parked near the back of the palace. She steps in to apologize for their vocal assault on the truck and then feels obligated to borrow a book. The next week, she decides to go in person to return the book and ends up choosing another. Her interest in books grows and she starts spending all of her free time reading. For various reasons, most of her staff and family don't approve and she must analyze why she has decided to become a reader at this point in her life.
This was an incredibly sweet and yet honest look at a very private woman. It is of course fictional and therefore Bennett was free to take some liberties but I would assume that if he had taken anything too far, we wouldn't be reading this novella! I will leave you with a passage that I found quite amusing and yet it has some poignant social insight.
The librarian at Windsor had been one of many who had urged on Her Majesty the charms of Jane Austen, but being told on all sides how much ma'am would like her books put ma'am off altogether. Besides, she had handicaps as a reader of Jane Austen that were peculiarly her own. The essence of Jane Austen lies in minute social distinctions, distinctions which the Queen's unique position made it difficult for her to grasp. There was such a chasm between the monarch and even her grandest subject that the social differences beyond that were somewhat telescoped. So the social distinctions of which Jane Austen made so much seemed of even less consequence to the Queen than they did to the ordinary reader, thus making the novels much harder going."
Wondering what makes me a reader and what being a reader makes me,
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