A True Princess by Diane Zahler (Published by HarperCollins, February 1, 2011)
Lilia has never known her true identity. When she was around two years old, she was found floating down the river in a basket. The man who rescued her took her home and raised her alongside his own children, Kai and Karina. However, the man’s cruel wife, Ylva, the children’s stepmother, insisted on treating Lilia like a servant. Now that Lilia is almost thirteen years old, and Ylva is pregnant, she has decided Lilia must leave to work as a servant for another family, for there is not enough food and money. Lilia decides to leave on her own and try and find her lost family, and Kai and Karina, who hate their stepmother, too, decide to come along on the journey.
All goes well at first as Lilia, Kai, and Karina travel north, hoping to find Lilia’s family there, for travelers they have met from the North Kingdoms have the same dark hair and violet eyes that Lilia has. But then, while traveling through the Bitra Forest, said to be a cursed place, become lost and stumble into the territory of the Elf-King, who is powerful and cruel, and has stolen many children from their families and used his magic to enslave them. His selfish and spoiled daughter sees Kai and decides she must have him for her own. The only way Lilia and Karina can save Kai is to find a jewel the Elf-King’s daughter wants even more.
A True Princess is a very charming and sweet story. It is inspired by Scandinavian mythology and legends as well as the classic fairytale The Princess and the Pea. Lilia is a likable and brave heroine who never gives up in her quest to save her best friend, Kai, as well as the other children held captive by the Elf-King. This book is sure to be enjoyed by readers who enjoy fairytale retellings by authors such as Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine as well as readers who enjoyed Diane Zahler’s first novel, The Thirteenth Princess.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.