And Then I Read: HER MAJESTY, GRACE JONES by Jane Langton

Cover illustration by Emily Arnold McCully.

This is not about the singer, it’s a delightful novel for children written in 1961, but taking place in America in the 1930s. Grace and her family have moved from Boston to Ohio because Grace’s father was promised a factory job there, but when they arrive, that position has been put on hold. Grace, Will and their parents have a new home on a hill overlooking their new town, but almost no money. Everyone is angry with the factory owner, who keeps promising he will be in touch as soon as he can reopen that position, but meanwhile they must gradually sell off their belongings to get by.

Grace is full of imagination, and has decided that she’s secretly a child of the current King of England, and glories in her private royalty. She even writes the King a letter to see if he might help her family out in their hard times. Meanwhile, she and Will and their friends get into all kinds of trouble and adventures, always trying to think of ways to get a little extra money for the family.

When Petunia, the family car, has to be sold, Grace rebels by hiding out in the rumble seat and confronting the new owners angrily when they get the car home. This works out in the end, as the new owners are understanding, and agree to help out the family by taking them on errands in their former car. Other friends are found along the way, as everyone in the country is in much the same situation, waiting for better times to arrive. Grace haunts the mailbox waiting for the King’s reply. Will it ever come?

Recommended. (Previously titled “The Majesty of Grace.”)

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