The Queen and the Handyman by Maria Tatham

The Queen and the Handyman

by Maria Tatham

Marta is almost a Queen. The only surviving child of the King and Queen of Zuphof, she will soon be crowned. When the carefully-guarded secret of her father’s fate is not guarded carefully enough, she discovers he may not be dead. Marta impulsively steals away to Count Drugen’s castle, his last known location. With only the palace handyman, Trimble, to assist her, and despite the growing improbability of the king’s survival and increasing dangers, Marta pushes on to demand the truth of King Peter’s fate. Her faith and her courage will be tried, and the cost of knowing may be her life. Guarding her life is Trimble, who has his own mysteries to hide.

Maria weaves an elegant and fanciful tale of human flaws and heavenly grace. Marta is lovable in the foolishness of youth, striving to exercise her fledgling wisdom, stumbling again and again upon the error of trusting her own impressions.

This is not your ordinary fairy tale. Spiritual battles weave themselves among the physical perils. Mythic creatures appear to challenge Marta’s grasp of reality, but quickly fit in to the story to emphasize fundamental truths.

I had to take back my “Never Do This” ban on multiple-character introductions at the beginning of the book because Maria’s writing is so skillful and graceful. With flair, she presents a room full of people of all types and occupations. No confusion ensued, and I didn’t have to muddle through. Main characters were central and supporting cast was appropriately described. Hopefully, Maria will write an article for me to link or post explaining how she accomplished it. It was fantastic!

Maria poses a point of view contrary to the traditional tale of good and evil. Worldly wisdom is challenged, and “natural” reactions are rejected in favor of a thoughtful approach to even the direst circumstances. Deep and abiding hope covers all, as the characters face trials small and big with deep courage and trust in God. Even the characters’ mistakes fit into the tapestry of the story, giving opportunity for other characters to show their true colors.

The Queen and the Handyman is a book with depth and thought-provoking lessons that I would recommend to all ages.

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