Queen Bee

Random/Joy Revolution. Apr. 2023. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593483503.
Gr 8 Up–What was Jane Austen missing amongst her tales of slow-burning love and social satire? Active vengeance, of course (also, people who weren’t white). This novel tells the story of disgraced Lady Ela Dalvi and her quest for revenge, delivering on both fronts. This Count of Monte Cristo–influenced tale has scheming and twists a-plenty. It also fills London ballrooms with regal folks influenced by England’s colonial history, daring to ask, what if these conquered countries were granted fair status by jolly old England? The result is drenched in African and Asian influence, filling out Regency frills with a richer tapestry of food and fashion. Howard deftly intercuts the story of current Ela against flashbacks to her as a naive, spritely young lady. Delicious morsels of why she is seeking revenge are tantalizingly released one by one. Each bread crumb raises the stakes whenever Ela slips in her plan, most notably in her simmering romance with erstwhile neighbor Lord Keston. She pushes against the boundaries—with help from allies like mysterious mentor Church and spunky banished classmates—while still operating within them. It’s a tightrope, but it works.
VERDICT A gossipy, vengeance-drenched romance with enough feminist touches to make girl, pardon me, lady-power abound.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing