Title: The Jewel in the Toad Queen’s Crown
Author: Jane Yolen
In: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Gaslamp, Historical fiction
Dates read: 29th October 2019
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: He realized then how foolish he had been, playing about with kabalistic magic.
A great historical rendition of Queen Victoria’s unique friendship with her Prime Minister and the journey they took to reach an understanding.
This story didn’t end at all as I expected. But it did make me realise that it is probably based on a true story. Which just makes it all the more fun – after all, who doesn’t like a cute little reimagining of a true, historical friendship?
I was expecting a truly dark story at the beginning. One in which the Queen is somehow overtaken and turned in a way that would be detrimental to her kingdom. (Don’t look at me like that, it does happen). Yet, it was kind of sweet, cute, and funny in the end. Alright, there were moments of darkness and slight insanity… but it was mostly enjoyable.
Sometimes it’s nice to read a story that features a male and female and just ends in friendship. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good romance, but that isn’t the only way that people of opposite sexes can interact. The fact that this friendship came from a kind of magical place, and an understanding of each others’ loss was thoroughly enjoyable. And not the kind of short story that I’m going to forget any time soon.