- Twice upon a Marigold
Some people should never be pulled out of the river once they've fallen from grace. Such is the case with Olympia, the queen who attempted to kill her daughter and her husband in Once upon a Marigold (BCCB 2/03). She's back, however, after having spent an amnesiac year being loving and kind in a small town. The restoration of her memory also restores her noxious personality, and she heads back to Beaurivage to finish the plot she started—to kill her rivals and establish herself as sole ruler. Marigold, now married to Christian, plots with her imprisoned father, cousin, and Christian's adoptive father, Ed, to overthrow the queen and settle her hash once and for all. They succeed in a bloodless coup and use a convenient spell to rid Olympia of her bad side, keeping the mild-mannered half of her personality, which had been beloved before her memory returned. Predictably plotted and simply not as witty as the first, this sequel depends for its charm on the reader's fondness for its predecessor. Fortunately, it's well paced, it's generally entertaining enough through its continuity of character to function as adequate closure, and the new characters of Lazy Susan and Stan Lucasa add sweet spice, if a rather silly surprise ending, to the story. Fans don't really need to go past the first title, but readers who absolutely require a beyond happily-ever-after may find this a diverting continuation.