Confession: I completely forgot about doing this post until I scrolled through my site after publishing my previous post. Oops! I hosted book club on Tuesday, then I had to quickly read the pick for my other book club meeting on Sunday. Hubby got sick, so I did not even get the chance to go to book club on Sunday. My reading challenge group also had to meet a week later this month to work around a schedule conflict. However, this is the first meeting we all got to attend.
For April, we chose to read: a book you can finish in a day. I chose to read a series of novellas by Anita Valle called The Nine Princesses (1-4). The fourth novella just came out at the end of April. Each of the novellas focuses on one of nine sisters, who the king adopted as orphans during a quest for the cure to Red Fever because he and his wife couldn’t have children. The princesses face different challenges after the king and queen die. Not everyone respects them as royalty, and their servants leave them in the middle of the night.
Maelyn, the eldest princess, would make the best queen. While she deals with the day-to-day challenges of ruling a small kingdom in a castle with no servants, she has to deal with opposition from both her countrymen and her uncle, the high king. Maelyn is a compassionate leader, clever, bookish, and reserved. She expects her sisters and herself to marry royalty or nobility to solidify their positions as princesses. Yet, she falls in love with a commoner. (Maelyn is available as a FREE ebook for kindle and nook.)
Coralina Corissa (Coco), the second eldest princess, flirts with pretty much every man and easily gets whatever she wants. As festivity princess, she arranges balls at the palace, writes and directs plays for the public, and is in charge of merry making for the palace. An excerpt of her book description on Amazon: Runa Realm is facing a new threat. Strange bandits, disguised as nobles, are attacking beautiful women to steal their hair. Coralina isn’t concerned. Until Prince Luxley, her favorite (but not only) lover, gets clobbered by a peasant called Gord, who mistakenly assumed the prince was a bandit. Outraged, Coralina plans to punish the peasant by deliberately breaking his heart. But Gord is nearly blind. For the first time ever, Coralina must rely on more than her looks to ensnare a man. But the harder she flirts, the more Gord seems to hate her. And the more her own heart (and hair) becomes endangered.
Heidel, the third eldest princess, serves as the kitchen princess. The plump, red-headed spit fire wants to cure the world of Red Fever. She learned many healing techniques from the former cook and is known as the healing princess. Heidel, an excellent cook in many areas, fails at baking cakes. She decides to try to overcome her cake weakness by entering the king of Bauble’s annual cake contest. Also attending the contest is Eravis, the king’s arrogant, handsome son who has been her nemesis since childhood.
Briette, the fourth eldest princess, works as the chamber princess and cleans the whole castle by herself. The duty perfectly fits the logical, tidy princess. Briette doesn’t enjoy being a princess and wishes for a different life. She pretends to go on vacation with her only friend, but she disguises herself as a servant and becomes a maid in the Duke of Merridell’s household. There, she uncovers a plot to replace Maelyn as the ruler of Runa Realm.
These stories don’t concentrate on the typical fall in love → overcome trial → happily ever after formula found in most princess stories. Each princess has a different, distinct personality and special set of skills, which come in handy without servants. The princesses struggle in different ways when their adoptive parents die.
The author provides glimpses of the earlier stories in the later ones, so readers know how the stories continue and fit together. A few common items run through all of the stories. These include: a castle thief stealing odd items from the princesses, their crafty uncle creating obstacles for them, and the missing servants. I would recommend these novellas to anyone who enjoys a good, lighthearted princess story.
The books my friends chose for this category include:
- Call the Midwife trilogy by Jennifer Worth
- Rose of Prophesy by Hope Ann
- The Pug List by Alison Hodgson
- Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes