Set in India, Of Kings and Queens follows Ram, a young teenage boy and his friendship with Maya. Ram is the only son and heir to the King of Mirpur; Maya is the granddaughter of his tutor. When Ram’s teacher has an accident and can no longer travel to Ram for lessons, Ram goes to him, but is surprised to find that Maya will be the one teaching him. Although she is only a few years older than he is, she knows her stuff. As their lessons progress, so does their friendship. When Ram’s life is threatened by his own family, he stays with Maya and her grandfather until he is well again. From there, knowing that he cannot go back home, his maternal grandmother arrives and he travels with her to England, where he then stays.
The story then jumps ahead a few years, and now Ram has a law degree and a fiancé in England, having left his old life behind. Or so he thinks. He receives word that his father, back in India, has died and that he was the only heir to throne, despite his father having had a bunch of other children – all girls. Ram, some-what reluctantly, returns to India with his new fiancé, and tries to pick up the pieces of his father’s terrible reign. While in India, memories return of the time he spent with Maya in her grandfather’s house, and he goes searching for her. His feelings towards his fiancé start to waver and unfurl when he sees Maya again, realizing that he has actually loved her for a long while.
The novelette is written in third person, but in present progressive tense (I think?) which made for some interesting reading. It’s not really a tense that I enjoy, but I think for the most part, it worked for this story. It was very descriptive at the beginning, letting the reader know a little of the background and of the situation; setting the scene, I guess, though I found this a little forward and too full of simple facts that I think I would have enjoyed more if they were subtly added throughout the story. However, it was a very easy to read and was a great look into some Indian culture, and Indian-British relations in those days. The impact of the twist at the end would have been more shocking if I hadn’t seen it coming, but I think that’s because I read too many books, and am always looking and guessing at what twist could be thrown in the mix.
Overall, I did really enjoy this story. The writing itself was very nicely done, and I loved some of the phrases and language used. The characters were great and it had a good amount of mystery and crazy family members in it to make it a story I’m going to remember.