The Return of King Lillian

Fiction - Mythology
392 Pages
Reviewed on 07/01/2019
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Author Biography

Suzie Plakson has been in love with fairy tale and myth ever since she was a young lass growing up in the wilds of suburbia. The idea for THE RETURN OF KING LILLIAN first came to her when she was a struggling theatre actor in New York City, doing odd jobs, improv comedy, and various off-off-Broadway productions. She eventually landed a lead in a national tour, which dropped her off in Hollywood, and since that time she has appeared in such films and television shows as MAD ABOUT YOU, LOVE AND WAR, WAG THE DOG, DINOSAURS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER and STAR TREK. She has also done voiceovers, written short stories and poetry, written and recorded an alternative country album, created an allegorical solo show, and produced sculptures large and small in her otherwise unused oven. THE RETURN OF KING LILLIAN is her debut novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Return of King Lillian is a highly engaging work of fantasy and mythical fiction penned by author Suzie Plakson. A whimsical and philosophical fairytale for the modern age, this intriguing story tells the tale of a young woman by the name of Lillian, child of an Emperor-King who is destined to inherit the crown. Lillian is an outcast from her own kingdom, and her journey to return to its center and take up the mantle of her birthright will see her face dangers and fascinating encounters at every turn. The metaphysical elements of the tale underpin the adventure with philosophies from art, healing and a general openness to culture.

In this reimagining of the fairytale, Lillian’s journey back to her birthright symbolizes many real-world struggles and issues that we face nowadays, holding up an allegorical mirror to conformist society and inspiring others to resist. The plot is a little winding, but that had a charm of its own, increasing the more the book went on, and it became less about a conclusion to the plot and more about an appreciation of each moment of the journey. The narrative is interesting for its artistic variety, and author Suzie Plakson makes use of many traditional storytelling forms, personal narratives, verse and more to make the tale come alive as it progresses. Overall, The Return of King Lillian is a very unusual work that will suit those open-minded dreamers looking for a new way to engage with adventure and allegory.

Jill Peterson

This is an extremely unusual and truly extraordinary novel. The story is told primarily from the point of view of the heroine of the tale, as she writes about her thoughts and experiences in her journal. It feels like Lillian is speaking directly to you as she writes, and her words spoke directly to my heart. I think this is one of the most charming, plucky, and inspiring female characters I've ever encountered -- a bit like Huck Finn, a bit like Alice, a bit like Judy Garland's Dorothy. She's a force of nature! And such a wonderful role model for young women, what with her resilience, optimism, and indefatigable "can do" attitude!

You know, I can imagine that the cynics of the world would be put off by the innocence and the hopefulness and the pure unadulterated joy of this character and this story, and they should surely steer clear of this book. But I think this is exactly what we need in this world of ours. Five stars, and (if I had them) five big thumbs up!

Jacob Nordby

"The Return of King Lillian" is a basket of magic. Echoing Joseph Campbell's feeling that the world needs new storytellers and new myths to help us greet the coming age, I'll say that Suzie Plakson is one of those storytellers and "King Lillian" is one of those myths. I was delighted by this book that smacks of Chaucer, Mark Twain, and L.M. Montgomery.

Marianne dePierres

"The Return of King Lillian" is entrancing, audacious, and addictive in the very best way. A splendidly creative allegory told by Suzie Plakson with flair, wit, and passion.

Nat Dashiell

Charming, heartfelt, and ultimately very powerful, THE RETURN OF KING LILLIAN reminded me of some of the great literary classics - THE WIZARD OF OZ, THE SWORD IN THE STONE, GULLIVER'S TRAVELS - and yet at the same time Lillian's tale is completely unique. She is such a great hero, and her story is both inspiring and often hilariously funny.

Loved this book. What a wonderful journey! I was just sorry that it had to end.

Kim Sadler

This book was inspired by the old tale of Hans Christian Anderson’s called The Emperor’s New Clothes. The tale is told by Lillian as she is writing her memories in a book. It is such an adventurous, magical tale that was such a joy to read as she is telling of her travels as she is trying to find her way home. Only, she doesn’t remember where home is after stepping into the Forest of Forgetfulness. She weaves her way into the hearts of many and winds up in a few tight spots due to certain circumstances. I highly recommend this book if you want a fun magical read! Oh! And I love that beautiful cover too!

Jodie Crump

Simply put, this book was marvelous. I loved every single word. It is told in Lillian’s own words, written in her Book (I capitalize it because she did in the story). It’s the hero’s journey, of course, but told in a new and original way.

Having grown up in the Forest of Forgetfulness, Lillian naturally remembers nothing about who she really is or where she came from. One day Destiny calls and Lillian answers, traveling into the wide Whirld to find answers. But Destiny is a funny thing, and she finds much, much more than she expected.

Lillian is the best protagonist I’ve read in a very long time. She’s spunky and has a habit of speaking her mind- whether she should or not. I love that sometimes it gets her in trouble, but in other times it’s just what’s needed. The language used in her narration is absolutely charming and natural-feeling.

Another wonderful thing about this book are the life lessons Lillian (and the reader) learn along the way. They’re beautifully disguised as different adventures, and not as heavy-handed as lessons are in a book like Little Women. For example, there’s the Narcissus, the vicious creature that attempts to defeat Lillian by telling her all her “many faults”. The way Lillian wins this encounter is nothing short of brilliant- and a perfect, subtle lesson about appearances and self-esteem.

This book is at once sweet, funny, and empowering, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s perfect for older kids navigating that hard time between childhood and everything else, fantasy lovers, or anyone who just wants a good book. I highly recommend this one.

Debbie R. Smith

Heard about this book via a publisher friend who said it’s a must read. Couldn’t agree more. I LOVE THIS BOOK! Wasn’t having the best day, so when I got home I curled up, started reading & couldn’t put it down. Transported me to another world. Magical & inspiring. WOW! Thanks to the author who clearly put so much love into this novel - evident in the care/detail on every page. A beautiful, beautiful story!

Ginia Desmond

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to write a review for this unique, brilliant and empowering fantasy novel. And novel it is…there is nothing else like it on the written page. It’s not only the story of King Lillian, a most special young girl on a journey that none of us are too clear about, including Lillian, but each word, and I mean EACH word is so beautifully placed and thought out, in many cases created, it had me re-reading sentences over and over just for the joy of it. Lillian’s journey defies time and place and yet it’s all about time and place. Of course this book is probably not for everyone, but for those of us who love this genre, it’s already a classic, a stand alone that has never been written before. So many wonderful characters, each with a life lesson. I envision young women talking about this story with each other for hours, and I look forward to a movie version one day. It will be breathtaking.

Denise Pataki

I absolutely loved this book! It reminded me of some the great fairy tales and classic fiction of yore - things like "The Wizard of Oz," "The Little Prince" and "Huckleberry Finn." In that sense it feels like a throwback and it transports you to a more innocent time. At the same time, this book is totally fresh and quite unique. The opening and ending of the story are told by a narrator in a loose, fun, fractured fairy tale style of poetry, but the bulk of the story is told in prose by Lillian as she writes in her diary, which she calls “Book” and which she addresses conversationally, so it feels like she’s talking directly to the reader, which I loved. It made me feel like I was more "inside" Lillian's journey, living through her experiences with her, traveling through her "Whirld," carried along with her on her amazing journey. And I have to say, now that it's over, I really, really miss it!

Bottom line, this is a very unusual and very special novel, and, for me, it's a big recommend!