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Valentine Grey by Sandi Toksvig

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From one of the nation's best-loved writers and performers comes a wonderful novel about a spirited young girl who goes to war as a young man.

If you like Sandi Toksvig you might also like to read books by Alan Hollinghurst, Barbara Trapido and Sarah Waters.


Valentine Grey by Sandi Toksvig

London 1897 and a young girl, Valentine Grey, arrives in England. She's been brought up in the remote and sunny climes of India and finds being forced into corsets and skirts in damp and cold country insufferable. The only bright spot: her exciting cousin, Reggie. Reggie, and his lover Frank seek out the adventure the clandestine bars and streets of London offer and are happy to include Valentine in their secret, showing her theatre, gardens - even teaching her how to ride a bicycle. And then comes the Boer War and Reggie's father volunteers him; the empire must be defended. But it won't be Reggie who dons the Volunteer Regiment's garb. Valentine takes her chance, puts on her cousin's uniform, leaving Reggie behind and heads off to war. And for a long while it's glorious and liberating for both of the cousins, but war is not glorious and in Victorian London homosexuality is not liberating ...


'Toksvig's warm characterisation drives the narrative, especially when set against her droll yet richly detailed evocation of an unedifying period of modern history ... Toksvig's shining creation, Valentine Grey, [is] a courageous and captivating character ... begging for a sequel' -- Lucy Beresford Sunday Telegraph

'Teasing out untold stories of the battlefield and of gay history ... follows in the footsteps of the likes of Sarah Waters and Pat Barker ... Toksvig's seemingly effortless ability to entertain shines through' -- Lucy Scholes Independent

About the Author

Sandi Toksvig

Sandi Toksvig is a well known broadcaster for both television and radio, hosts The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4 and 1001 Things You Should Know on Channel 4. She presented Excess Baggage on Radio 4 untill 2012. She has written more than twenty books including fiction and non-fiction for both adults and children, most recently Valentine Grey, and is a regular columnist for Good Housekeeping magazine and in September 2012 her latest play 'Bully Boy' was the opening production for London's first new theatre in thirty years, the St James. Sandi is the new Chancellor of Portsmouth University.

Author photo © Deej

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Book Info

Publication date

4th July 2013


Sandi Toksvig

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Virago Press Ltd an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group


352 pages


Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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