Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler

The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler is a variant of The Twelve Dancing Princesses in which Zita is the thirteenth born daughter of a king who longed for a son to be his heir. All the other princesses are cosseted in a lofty tower room, but Zita is sent at her birth down to the servants quarters where she lives until she finds out that she, too, is a princess.

I found this book to push my suspension of disbelief, as Zita is acknowledged as a princess by everyone in the castle, but still banished from her family. It's a strange dynamic and I'm not sure the story is successful at conveying it. However, the strong narrative pulled me through the book, and hints of other tales and shades of George McDonald--such as a godmother-esque witch in the woods, whom only the children can find--gave the text enough richness that overall it worked.

I would recommend this mostly to younger readers or those who particularly enjoy new versions of The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

1 comment:

  1. After I finish Toads and Diamonds, this is the next in my library pile! :)