King Peggy

King Peggy

An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed An African Village

Book - 2012 | 1st ed.
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The charming real-life fairy tale of an American secretary who discovers she has been chosen king of an impoverished fishing village on the west coast of Africa. King Peggy has the sweetness and quirkiness of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series and the hopeful sense of possibility of Half the Sky .
King Peggy chronicles the astonishing journey of an American secretary who suddenly finds herself king to a town of 7,000 souls on Ghana's central coast, half a world away. Upon arriving for her crowning ceremony in beautiful Otuam, she discovers the dire reality: there's no running water, no doctor, and no high school, and many of the village elders are stealing the town's funds. To make matters worse, her uncle (the late king) sits in a morgue awaiting a proper funeral in the royal palace, which is in ruins. The longer she waits to bury him, the more she risks incurring the wrath of her ancestors. Peggy's first two years as king of Otuam unfold in a way that is stranger than fiction. In the end, a deeply traditional African town has been uplifted by the ambitions of its headstrong, decidedly modern female king. And in changing Otuam, Peggy is herself transformed, from an ordinary secretary to the heart and hope of her community.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780385534321
Branch Call Number: 966.7092 BARTE
Characteristics: 333 p. : ill., map.
Additional Contributors: Herman, Eleanor 1960-


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Jan 16, 2020

I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a non-fiction book this much. It was fascinating to learn about everything she had to deal with in order to eliminate corruption and begin helping her people. The details given are very personal, not just political. I don't know that I would have had the patience that she exhibited, especially with her corrupt and selfish relatives and council elders. It was also very interesting to learn so much about Ghanaian culture and beliefs. I would love to hear about what has happened since this book was published.

HCL_staff_reviews Oct 27, 2017

Peggy Bartels moved to Washington D.C. from Ghana and worked at the Ghanaian embassy for almost three decades, eventually becoming Secretary to the Ambassador. Then in 2008 her Uncle Joseph passed away, and Peggy was selected as the new king of Otuam, her home town of 7000 people. I was fascinated by the long process of assuming the kingship and full of admiration for Peggy's fierce dedication to her people. Alexander McCall Smith called King Peggy "an astonishing and wonderful book about a real-life Mma Ramotswe." and said "It is an utter joy", an opinion I heartily second. — Kay D., Maple Grove Library

bibliotechnocrat Mar 27, 2015

Peggy, a secretary at the Ghanaian embassy in Washington DC, gets a wildly unexpected phone call - she has been elected king of Otuam, a village of 7,000 souls. She comes to realize, however, that the elders who elected her, did so because they thought they could control a woman whose home base was across the ocean. Wrong. They soon discover that their days of corruption are numbered. The tone of this extraordinary story is amusing and gentle - think The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency - so it's easy to forgive the somewhat clunky writing.

bookfanatic1979 Jan 28, 2014

Who says fairytales don’t come true? I can’t imagine being a secretary one day and a king the next. What a wonderful story of determination, strength, and sheer female willpower. I wish King Peggy would write a sequel (or at least a blog), telling how far she’s come in her journey and what further adventures she’s been having. Although she does appear to have a Facebook page…

Sep 06, 2013

February 2014

Raynpetal Mar 17, 2013

Peggy who has lived in D.C. for most of her life finds herself being crowned King of a small village in Ghana Africa. She must deal with elders of her council and their traditional ways in addition to allegations of theft and bribery.
I find myself identifying a couple underlying themes here including female leaders who must deal with many things while they lead in nontraditional roles.

Dec 04, 2012

An interesting story about a woman who was thrust into power because corrupt elders thought they could trod all over her (a woman who lived far away). But this woman is strong and has a great moral compass and sense of justice. King Peggy is a nice, moving story about how people can make a difference.

Booktraveler Dec 03, 2012

What a fun read! This book is based on the true life story of a secretary working in the Ghana embassy in Washington DC who gets the unbelievable call that her uncle has died and she has been selected to become the new king of a small village in Ghana. This feisty lady goes on to accept the challenge and does everything in her power to improve conditions in her village. The colorful culture, customs and characters in this story really came to life in the book. Additional information about King Peggy and her efforts in Otuam can be found on a website referenced in the book or King Peggy’s facebook page.

Nov 29, 2012

This story shows how we can make a difference, if we are courageous enough to face the unexpected challenges that life puts in front of us. In the mean time, we learn about Ghanaian traditions and a way of life that only few know.

Aug 26, 2012

Not sure quite where this fell short -- the story has an interesting premise, and the book did follow her back and forth from Washington DC to Ghana, eventually showing how the village transformed in the end.

I think it's that you don't really get to understand Peggy as much as you'd like in the book. You get to know the other folks in the village far better than herself.

Either way, it was and still is an interesting premise. It is good to hear that she is still helping her village.

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