Sunday, May 18, 2008

Twice Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

Queen Olympia was last seen falling into the river beside Beaurivage Castle just before the wedding of Marigold and Christian. She was last mentioned in Once Upon a Marigold in the one year later epilogue as an amnesia victim suddenly getting her memory back. So what happened during that one year?

She became a new person - a loving, gentle, helpful person who lives with the mayor of Granolah and his wife. She becomes friends with Lazy Susan, Sleeping Beauty's half sister, and does everything possible to live up to her new chosen name. Angelica.

So now, one year later and her memory suddenly restored, she is none too happy about her situation. She did laundry? Swept? Carried water? Appalled, she demands to be taken back to her kingdom where she immediately proceeds to take over, bullying King Swithbert into quiet submission.

Meanwhile all our favorite characters have had a wonderful year. Christian and Marigold rule Zandelphia from their crystal castle, Swithbert and Ed play games of snipsnapsnorum, and Magnus has his own place and his eye on a beautiful young lady named Sephronia.

But with Olympia back in the fold, things quickly turn ugly. Marigold and Christian are arguing, and Swithbert isn't strong enough to withstand Olympia's demands. Pretty soon Olympia has rewritten Beaurivage's constitution and forced the trial of three treasonous conspiritors: Swithbert, Ed, and Magnus. And if you believe the trial will be fair and just, consider that three gallows have already been built in the castle courtyard.

Nobody has ever stood up to Olympia. Not Swithbert. Not her daughters. Not her subjects. She has always had everything she desires. But will it continue? Will everyone simply allow her to bulldoze her way back onto the throne even if she is a ruler with no loyal followers? Olympia is truly evil. Even a good shaking from an elephant can't change true evil (although elephant shaking, apparently, works great on the unpleasant and disagreeable).

True evil takes something much more powerful. True evil takes a rearragement of the heart as well as the head, and Olympia has a bitterly cold heart and incredibly hard head.

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