This uplifting true story is stranger than fiction. One day, Peggielene Bartels woke up to find that her uncle had died, leaving her king of a fishing town along Africa’s west coast. So Bartels, a Washington secretary, was thrust into a long-distance reign, juggling desk duties in D.C. with royal responsibilities on another continent. She can barely pay her condo fees at home yet must bring clean drinking water, paved roads and other essentials to a community where corruption is rife and elders seem more content to avoid conflict than to enact change. A convoluted fairy tale that’s actually real life.
King Peggy, Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman, $29.