The Return of King Lillian is more than an exciting adventure, a beautifully written book, and a virtuoso audio performance by its multi-talented author/narrator.
For me, the best thing about this excellent debut novel is a chance to get to know and spend time with one of the most spirited, spunky, exciting, and entertaining characters I’ve ever encountered. She is all wide-eyed innocence, provocative questioning, giggly girlhood, quick wits, but also steel-willed determination and incredible bravery.
Lillian is more of a poet than she wants to admit and a fun companion as she takes us along on her journey.
There’s plenty of nastiness as we go, however: she’s put on trial for horse thievery, almost captured by a band of fairies, and falls deeply, tragically in love. Don’t worry though. She can handle it all.
Lillian lost her chance for the throne because of those terrible traditions of primogeniture, and an imbecilic father who wouldn’t even speak to his dear wife because she couldn’t give him a son and heir. Of course, the dimwit fell prey to a scheming scoundrel why used the whole “most remarkable suit of clothes” ploy to dupe the king and the council, take over the kingdom, and banish Lillian forever.
Unfortunately or fortunately (I’m not sure which) she wanders straight from her kingdom into the forest of forgetfulness. And as our story starts in the middle, we learn that Lillian knows she needs to go home to fulfill her destiny but – thanks to all that forgetfulness – she’s not exactly sure where to go or why. Discovering Lillian’s purpose and then witnessing her triumphant return makes for a really great story, fraught with danger, adventure, and more than a few messages.
In the end this is not just a new spin on The Emperor’s New Clothes and a tribute to the tribulations of the real Girl Kings of the past (See Jadwiga, King of Poland who ruled from age of 11 till her death in childbirth at age 25 and is considered one of that country’s greatest rulers). This is a really great literary experience.