October 28, 2008

Leaving Home: Long May She Reign

Though this is a relatively stand-alone volume in Ellen Emerson White's series about Meg Powers, I have lingering guilt for having read this totally out of order. But I can tell you this--I'll definitely be looking for the others in the series.

Without too many spoilers, Long May She Reign begins with the first steps in a long recovery process from a horrific ordeal. Meg isn't quite an ordinary teenager; she's the daughter of the President of the United States--who just happens to be female. The premise is fun--there's a First Gentleman, and it's taken as a simple fact that a woman would be just as strong, wise, and, yes, complex and troubled, a public figure as a male President.

But Meg--that's another story. Several months before this story starts--presumably in one of the earlier books in the series--Meg had been kidnapped, brutalized, and left for dead. She managed to escape, but her physical and emotional recovery won't be easy...and they haven't been. Especially when she isn't sure what to think of her mother--who refused to negotiate with the terrorists who kidnapped her. Now that Meg is starting college, she will have to face and work through not only her lingering fears from the kidnapping, but also her conflicted feelings toward her mother.

Despite the political setting, this is not a political novel, but a story of recovery and personal struggle. Of course the fact that Meg is the President's daughter informs the entire book, from the Secret Service agents--and paparazzi--that follow Meg everywhere she goes, to the way she's treated by her college classmates. It's exhausting for the reader--as it no doubt is for Presidential families in real life. And, from time to time, Meg herself is a bit exhausting. She refuses to attend therapy, which is frustrating, and she is almost stubbornly self-unaware at times. However, the story is intense and absorbing, and the characters are all very realistically complex and conflicted--and human.

Buy this book from an independent bookstore near you!


Anonymous said...

The third book in this series (the one where she gets kidnapped) was the first one I read. I read it more or less when it first came out. It stood well on it's own as well. I only read the first two books in the series when they were re-released this past summer. It's a great series.

Anonymous said...

Oh, good--I look forward to reading the others. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I read these back in the day when they were first published! The author is simply fabulous -- as much as I love her White House series, she wrote a novel about a nurse in Vietnam for older YA's -- wow. I absolutely can't wait to re-read them and then read Long May She Reign.

Anonymous said...

LOVED this book! We've been featuring Ellen Emerson White, the author, on readergirlz this last month!!