If you haven't already read "The Queen and I" by Sue Townsend, I do suggest you do so before reading Queen Camilla. It sets the tone for the dismantling of the monarchy, and is a five star, laugh out loud funny read for anyone with a British or indeed, any sense of humor.
Assuming the last page of "The Queen and I" has been removed, then Queen Camilla picks up approximately 13 years after the Royal Family has been deposited into a housing estate in Midlands England. Despite all their good breeding, effectively, the royals are now like everyone else on the estate, dealing with serious issues such as poverty and the appalling conditions associated with aged care.
The housing estate has evolved into an "Exclusion Zone" one of many designed to `keep in' the more undesirable elements of society which along with the criminals, include the poor, the uneducated, social misfits and the royal family.
Sue Townsend writes beautifully and has a wonderfully witty turn of phrase, but `Queen Camilla' is a sad, dark and thoroughly depressing book. Instances of domestic violence, animal abuse and neglect, the neglect and abhorrent conditions in aged care facilities, and society's mass idiocy and general herd behavior shines a harsh and somewhat disturbing light on the human race as a species.
Many of the wonderfully rich characters that accompanied `The Queen and I' are noticeably absent here. Instead, we have mostly cameo appearances by various royals, and the other main players in the tale are ignorant, psychotic, and generally extremely unlikeable.
As a writer, Sue Townsend is a five star talent. But don't let the cover of this book fool you. This is a story without hope. It is despair wrapped up in shiny glittery paper.
Even if I was to treat this book as a message of society's degeneration and not as I thought it would be which is a comedic follow up to "The Queen and I", then why two stars?
1. The Story was long, generally boring and really didn't go anywhere.
2. Despite the length of the book, the characters were mostly underdeveloped and unlikeable.
3. The interweaving story of dogs who can talk like humans was mostly redundant and uninteresting.
4. I did not enjoy the book at all. It left me flat.
I don't like to `not recommend' a book to people as reading enjoyment is subjective. But animal lovers and people looking and hoping to see the best in other people and the world in general should be prepared to be disappointed.