I am not a fan of romance books.
Oh, I like the old classics, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, that sort of thing, but for the most part, I will avoid a book if it is solely based on romance. I like books full of action and adventure, books with intrigue and suspense and a life and death goal. If romance happens to be slipped in alongside that, fine, but a book that is absolutely centered around the guy getting the girl?
Not so much.
And yet, this particular book is just exactly the kind that I usually don’t like. It’s a very typical romance, where the princess in disguise meets the charming and handsome prince, and they live happily ever after.
The Ordinary Princess is one of the sweetest fairytales that I have ever, in my entire life, come across. The writing style is perfect, the characters are funny and charming, and the world they live in is just the right mixture of fantasy and whimsy. It begins with the birth of a princess. In fact, the birth of a seventh princess.
And everyone knows that the seventh princess is always the most charming, the most beautiful of all her sisters.
A great celebration is held for the child’s christening, and the darling little child is given a name. Or, seven names, to be precise. Princess Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Ann of Phantasmorania. In addition, it is decided that, since she is the seventh daughter, it would no doubt be an excellent idea to invite all of her fairy godmothers to the christening.
This was not, in fact, an excellent idea.
One of her godmothers, a crotchety old woman named Crustacea, is caught in traffic on the way to the party. By the time she arrives, she is in a foul temper and quite dried out from all the dust on the roads. (Besides being a godmother, she is also the fairy in charge of lakes, pools, and the ocean.) She stumps into the throne room in high bad temper, looks at the charming, sweet little Amethyst, and says, “My child, I am going to give you something that will probably bring you more happiness than all these fal-lals and fripperies put together. You shall be Ordinary.”
And then she is gone, and the damage is quite done.
And Amy (for who could possibly call an ordinary child Amethyst?) is ordinary. She has straight, mouse-brown hair, a turned up little nose, and freckles. Her father and mother are at a loss on how to marry their ordinary child off. Amy, of course, does not want to be married off at all, and in the end, she runs away to find her own adventures. Through a series of circumstances involving, among other things, a crow, a squirrel named Mr. Pemberthy, a dress that is simply falling to pieces and must be replaced, and a man-of-all-work, Amy creates her own happily ever after.
What I love the most about this book, (besides the absolute charm of it) is that the romance in it is entirely ordinary. Nobody swoons, no-one is enraptured by the beauty of their significant other, and there are no dramatic fights in the rain. (Although blackberries do get thrown.) Amy and her prince are simply best friends. And that, I think, is the best basis for a marriage that can possibly exist.
(Whoops. I gave away the ending, didn’t I?)
Lavender’s blue, rosemary’s green,
When I am king, you shall be queen.