Meg's family has faced some pretty rocky times in the last couple of years. Her mother, now Madame President Powers, is still recovering from an shocking attack (albeit out of the public eye) and Meg's family seems to now be, not-surprisingly, closer and more tight-knit than ever. Meg's biggest worry is finishing up her senior year while trying to avoid the ever-present reporters who follow her families' every move when the unthinkable happens: Meg is brutally kidnapped by terrorists and forced to endure more than she ever imagined. Meg isn't sure why she was taken or even where, but she knows the terrorists have no plans to let her live. Which quickly becomes her only goal.
Meg goes through some truly horrific stuff in this novel. She's beaten down and left so physically and emotionally scarred, she knows her life will never be the same again. Unexpectedly, I found myself repeatedly in tears while reading because I had unknowingly become so dang attached to Meg, I understand why some scenarios were more painful than others. Ellen Emerson White knew she couldn't start off the series with a story like this, but since she's built up a character (Meg) supported by incredible secondary characters with such believable interactions that I was completely drawn into this story. I could feel and understand every single person's pain because I'd been with them all for so long, I just got it.
So if I thought White House Autumn was taking a risk dealing with a presidential attack, then Long Live the Queen has to take some kind of award for even daring to discuss a teen who is taken hostage by terrorists. I do have one thing to say about Ellen Emerson White, that woman is fearless. Fiercely fearless. She doesn't shy away from any of the tough questions or the questionable emotions, she faces each dead-on with a calm and precise determination. Terrorists, kidnapping, Vietnam - I mean is there anything this woman can't do - and do well?
For this third installment, I find it noteworthy that the artwork was chosen to mimic James McNeill Whistler's classic painting Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Artist's Mother. I can't fault their taste - there is something inherently classic about Whistler's work, I totally dig it. Of course it is tongue in cheek with the hanging picture of the White House in the background and it definitely allows you to see the bright blue leg and hand brace Meg is now sporting. As for the Queen herself, Meg's attitude seems to be almost passive, which after reading this novel, I can assure you is anything but, which is a none too subtle reminder that Meg is under constant scrutiny all the time and that even when she's feeling wretched and depressed, she's still putting on her 'public' face and doing what she has to.
series reading order:
~ The President's Daughter - my review
~ White House Autumn - my review
~ Love Live the Queen
~ Long May She Reign