The Queen, out with her yapping dogs, stumbles into a travelling library that’s stopped behind Buckingham Palace. Out of politeness she borrows a book – one whose author she once made a Dame. Despite the author’s fine background the book turns out to be rather dull. Upon returning it, the Queen feels obliged to borrow a new one, and this time she is hooked.

Her staff do not read books (with the exception of Norman the kitchen boy), so they have little understanding for this new pastime. And the Queen is obviously losing any enthusiasm she might previously have had for such tasks as opening some public building or visiting a shoe factory. Her reading habit is seen as somewhat bothersome, and her private secretary, among others, conspires to put an end to it. But the Queen persists, and lives are changed.

This is a perfectly lovely little book. Charming, witty, wonderfully British, each phrase a joy to read. It is light entertainment but at the same time it is also a serious story about how literature can change lives. The Queen comes across as both eminently royal and surprisingly lovable and human. One wishes the real Queen read this book.

Adlibris, Amazon UK, Amazon US.