Published: 2nd January 2016
Publisher: Luminant Publications
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Fairy Tale
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ – 5 Stars
One dark and stormy night, lost and alone, Alyssa finds herself knocking on the door of a castle.
After a lifetime spent in the deep forest, Alyssa has no idea what to expect on the other side.
What she finds is two unruly young princesses and one very handsome prince. When Alyssa accepts the job of Princess Companion she knows her life will change. What she doesn’t know is that the royal family is about to be swept up in unexpected danger and intrigue and that she just might be the only thing standing between her kingdom and destruction.
This retelling of the classic fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea, reimagines the risks and rewards that come when one royal family goes searching for a true princess.
Danger and romance await a woodcutter’s daughter in a royal palace.
Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.
Fairy tale retellings are some of my favourite books and fairy tales themselves are one of my favourite genres. I love everything about them, their universality, their ability to become any story possible while still being recognised at a level as being a fairy tale, and I love that there are one hundred ways to tell the exact same story and have it come out one hundred different ways.
Cellier’s story is exactly this. It is The Princess and the Pea story we all recognise, but told in a way that it becomes a whole new story on its own. There is still so much of a fairytale in this story: woodcutter’s daughter, godmothers, princes and kingdoms, but Cellier manages to create something more intricate and complex than the original tale. It is sweet, creative, incredibly clever, and even sneaks in another fairy tale reference and shows us what happens at the end of a happily ever after.
The writing feels really honest. Cellier easily could have fallen into the trap of having misunderstandings resulting in the stereotypical drama caused by miscommunication, but she doesn’t. Alyssa is upfront and honest about mistakes and even though it doesn’t always work it, she is never is dishonest or deceptive.
The narration stays with Alyssa for the majority of the book which is a wonderful move as we get to see the palace life and her experience through her eyes and thoughts. You really can’t ask for a better character than Alyssa. She is honest and intelligent, filled with wisdom but also delightfully innocent at the same time. Where readers can see the affection between Max and Alyssa, she always comes to the wrong conclusion. It’s so sweet, and it is a nice change than having her pine for a prince she can’t have.
Alyssa’s role as a Princess Companion brings about all sorts of adventure and danger, and seeing her develop and change, along with all the other characters, is quite rewarding. When the romance emerges it is beautifully told; Cellier doesn’t spring it on us, she weaves it through, misdirection and ignorance throughout. I can’t go on enough about how well this is written.
The original Princess and the Pea fairy tale is not an overly popular retelling compared to Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast, but Cellier has expanded on this incredibly short fairy tale phenomenally, giving depth and fullness to every character and creating a solid and emotionally stable story all within the beginning and end of the traditional fairy tale.
Reading this novel gives you the warm fuzzy feeling that a well-told story produces, and this simple fairy tale has been filled with so much, so many details and complexities, tiny moments that add so much meaning but seem so innocent. It’s fantastic. Cellier truly has written an enchanting, enthralling, and brilliant novel that still feels like you are reading a classic fairy tale.
You can purchase The Princess Companion via the following