Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Princess Curse, by Merrie Haskell

Reveka is no damsel in distress.  She's lived through the death of her mother, abuse from her convent's Abbess, attacks from the warring Turks, famine, and now a lazy monk who says he needs an apprentice herbalist (but only because he wants to sleep later into the day).  No, Reveka does not need someone to swoop in and save her.  She might, however, be able to break the curse of twelve princesses who are exhausted every morning and require a new pair of shoes to replace the ones they had worn before going to bed.

Set in medieval Eastern Europe, this adaptation of The Twelve Dancing Princesses uses real history and folklore to create a compelling setting for this otherworldly fairy tale.  As for the characters, Reveka belongs in the same class as Alyce from The Midwife's Apprentice.  She's intelligent, determined, and just sarcastic enough to keep things from getting too stuffy.

There are some themes that might be better understood by the newly-YA crowd (burgeoning romance, marriage), but older kids should relate easily to the rest of the story.

Also try:
Princess Academy, by Sharon Hale
Catherine, Called Birdy, by Karen Cushman
A True Princess, by Diane Zahler
Mistwood, by Leah Cypess (YA)


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