When the Queen happens upon the bookmobile parked at Buckingham Palace, she picks up a book, just to be polite, and embarks on a reading jag nearly to the exclusion of all else. Her royal duties—touring a cheese factory, opening a hospital, even her weekly meetings with the Prime Minister—become obstacles to her reading. Heads of state, family members, and advisors are flummoxed by the Queen’s new hobby, which they see as a royal inconvenience.
More than a hilarious imagining of the British monarch turned voracious reader, Bennett’s novella is a delightful homage to the act and art of reading. As the Queen becomes a better, more thoughtful reader, her perspective changes; she’s drawn out of her insulated realm and ponders her literary legacy. A treat from start to finish.