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 the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014, and is currently judging the Aesthetica Magazine new writing prize.
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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