Paperback review: Valentine Grey, By Sandi Toksvig
Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books, 2013, and is currently a judge of the Fiction Uncovered Prize, 2014.
Friday 05 July 2013
In Valentine, this novel's 19th-century heroine, Toksvig has created a fabulously rebellious woman. “Why must you be so adventurous, Valentine?” her gay cousin, Reggie, chides as she falls off a horse.
She will go on to be far more adventurous than that. After Reggie's reluctance to leave for the Boer War, which he must fight, she dons his uniform for a cross-dressing quest in a tale reminiscent of the lifestory of army surgeon, James Miranda Barry. A warm, fluidly told story of heroism and closet homosexuality.
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