A True Princess by Diane Zahler is officially released this Tuesday, February 1. (It's also available as an ebook.) It is Zahler's second fairy tale retelling following last year's The Thirteenth Princess, which drew inspiration from Twelve Dancing Princesses. This new book is most indebted to The Princess and the Pea, so I am most excited about it. I can count the number of novel-length books that draw direct inspiration from that tale on one hand. Of course, the tale itself is super short, but I do think it has much scope for imagination for authors and am surprised it doesn't get used more often.
Book description from the publisher:
Twelve-year-old Lilia is not a very good servant. In fact, she's terrible! She daydreams, she breaks dishes, and her cooking is awful. Still, she hardly deserves to be sold off to the mean-spirited miller and his family. Refusing to accept that dreadful fate, she decides to flee. With her best friend, Kai, and his sister, Karina, beside her, Lilia heads north to find the family she's never known. But danger awaits. . . .Yes, that description makes it sound like there is some Snow Queen influence along with some other Norwegian folklore. That's the beauty of authors who love fairy tales, they usually have to use more than one.
As their quest leads the threesome through the mysterious and sinister Bitra Forest, they suddenly realize they are lost in the elves' domain. To Lilia's horror, Kai falls under an enchantment cast by the Elf King's beautiful daughter. The only way for Lilia to break the spell and save Kai is to find a jewel of ancient power that lies somewhere in the North Kingdoms. Yet the jewel will not be easy to find. The castle where it is hidden has been overrun with princess hopefuls trying to pass a magical test that will determine the prince's new bride. Lilia has only a few days to search every inch of the castle and find the jewel—-or Kai will be lost to her forever.
There aren't many professional reviews of the book available yet, but the book is averaging 4 out of 5 stars from most readers on Amazon and GoodReads and elsewhere.