This book was a cute and a fast read. This is a retelling of the fairy tale of the princess in the pea. The story has some twists such as the Violet, the princess, didn't know she was a princess because she was wisked away to be raised by a farmer when her family was murdered when she was a baby. Her whole life she though she was just a farm girl when she was really a princess. Its on her farm that she meets Prince Richard of Cambria (Violet's homeland and rightful kingdom) who is on his way home to the palace when he gets injured. Prince Richard's parents are holding a contest where princess come from all over to go through six tests to prove their worthiness, sensitivity and the right to marry Richard. Richard thinks this is ridiculous but there is nothing he can do about it.
So basically what happens is that Violet and Richard meet at her farm while she cares for him and his injuries. Of course its love at first sight on both of their accounts. However Richard is a prince and Violet is just a farm girl. All too soon Richard has to leave and go back to the castle. Its is then that her mother, at death's door, and her father tell her the truth about her parentage. She then travels to the castle and presents herself to the king and Queen, asking to enter the competition for Richard's hand. Even though Violet's parentage cannot be fully determined at that moment, The King and Queen still allow her compete, mainly as thanks for saving their son.
I liked Violet a lot. She is tough and hard working and even though she's a princess she doesn't act like it. I like the fact that she loves Richard so much that she is willing to go through the trials to get him. While she does have doubts she will win and she does get sad, she still goes on. Violet is a spitfire which is awesome. A few times she tried to fist fight Princess Celeste (her enemy), who by the way was a total b****. Then later on in the end she actually punches Celeste in the face, where I cheered and laughed so hard.
I like Richard as well, because while he is a prince he is not cocky or pompous. He is caring, sensitive, humble, loving and actually nice. He is willing to do anything to be with Violet, even suggesting running away with her. This is the one type of insta-love I can tolerate because its a fairy tale, they are all about love at first sight and meant to be cheesy.
I also liked a few of the other princess as well. Princess Genevieve was Violets roommate and helped her with the trials, causing a diversion so that Violet can cheat at a task. Princess Arianna is wild and tough and is rooting for Violet to win. Goldie is a true queen. Her situation is dire, where he uncle is ruling for her until she turns 18 and all the while he is plotting to kill her. The marriage to Richard would save her from her uncle's plans. Even though she knows this, during the last task where the princess had to tell the entire court why they were the best choice for Richard, Goldie was truly honorable and told the whole court including the King and Queen, that Violet would be the best choice for Richard because Violet truly loved him. She sacrificed herself and possibly her life for Violet's happiness. She is a true hero and friend.
The tasks the King and Queen came up with were ridiculous. One task was that the princesses had to feel a hair being pulled and that it was cause her excruciating pain. After that task some princesses had bandages wrapped around their heads because of the pain. Another task was for them to walk across grass barefoot because it is said that the bottom of a princess' feet are so delicate and sensitive that the grass will cut their feet. It actually does happen to some of the princess and Genevieve's feet were the worst cut feet of them all. I was like yeah right when I read some of these tasks. For some tasks Richard gave Violet a heads up and told her what to do to succeed in the task. Violet did what he told her but she still felt like she was cheating, which I guess she was. However I'd cheat if it meant marrying the man that I loved and not think twice about it which was why Violet continued to follow and look for his advice. Like my dad always said "Cheat to Win."
I loved one scene in particular where it is found, in front of the whole court of Cambria,the princesses and their families, that Violet is the true heir of Cambria. The priest in her farming village came to tell about her parentage because he was the one who told the nurse who saved Violet as a baby, to give her to the farmer and his wife (the mother and father she only ever knew), who raised her. Once that is revealed every one, even the current King and Queen of Cambria bows to her. I love that scene and it pulled at my heart. It was the way I felt when I watched the ending of the last of the Lord of the Rings movie, the Return of the King, where Aragon who has just become the king of Gondor, tells Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry (who are bowing to him) "You bow to no one" and the entire kingdom including the elves there, bowed to them.
Here is the scene:
"Violet is the child she carried away from the castle that night. Violet is the true heir of Cambria".
Stunned, Violet watched as Richard's parents stood from their thrones and the bowed to her. Richard did so a moment later. Her heart began to pound as all around her people knelt down. Violet saw Genevieve, Goldie and Arianna, who all flashed huge smiles before kneeling too. Violet turned slowly in a circle, looking at all who knelt before her".
Some more crazy stuff happens after this but I love that scene.
All in all this was a quick entertaining read. I love fairy tales and retellings and I recommend it to people who love them too.
This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews