For those of you who love fairy tales, I bring you one, of the hand of Rosie’s Book Review Team.
The Royal Deal (Chasing the Romantics, a Series of Original Fairy Tales Book 1) by D. G. Driver
A pampered princess is told she must marry a prince she doesn’t like, let alone love, on her nineteenth birthday. Desperate to find a way to stop this arranged marriage, she makes a bargain with her father. If she can survive for three months in the forest with no help of any kind and return healthy and unharmed, then she can choose the man she will marry. The King accepts the wager, knowing he can’t possibly lose. Princess Faith knows she must win this deal, but once she ventures into the forest, she has no idea how she can possibly succeed.
About the author:
I love to write for young adults and middle grade readers. I love to write books with diverse characters and that cover difficult topics like caring for the environment or people with special needs. Cry of the Sea, Whisper of the Woods, Echo of the Cliffs and Passing Notes are my contemporary fantasy novels published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books. Cry of the Sea has won two literary awards for its environmental theme. I also have a Middle Grade book about bullying and Autism Awareness, No One Needed to Know, which has won three awards including the 2017 Children’s Literary Classics silver award for “Best Preteen Fiction”. My first adult romance story is in Second Chance for Love (Satin Romance Books), and I have fantasy stories in the books Fantastic Creatures, Winter Wonder, Kick Ass Girls of Fire and Ice YA Books, Tomato Slices, and A Tall Ship, a Star, and Plunder. I love to read too – fantasy and adventure being my favorite kinds of books. You can learn more about me and my books at www.dgdriver.com or follow me on FB, Twitter, Pinterest or Tumblr.
I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, check here if you want to get your book reviewed) and thank her and the author for the ARC copy of the book, which I freely chose to review.
I love fairy tales. I know some of the classic ones are cruel, harsh, and less than politically correct, but I do love them. And I am always intrigued by new versions of old fairy tales, or completely new fairy tales.
This short fairy tale has elements of the classics: a King and father, insisting that his daughter must marry the man of his choice (for political reasons); a Princess and daughter, Faith, who wants to follow her heart (she hardly knows Jaeger, the young prince she is due to marry. She always assumed she would marry the older, more mature, Mikhail, who is known for his caring attitude towards his people, although she does not know him well either); a challenge/mission… This time, the princess is not just passively waiting for a prince to come and rescue her (although she hopes Mikhail, who has been missing for a long time, will come back before her 19th birthday when she is supposed to get married). She decides to go to her father and make a deal with him. She wants to prove that she is not a useless thing that needs looking after. Her father agrees that if she can survive for three months in the forest, without any outside help, she will be free to marry whomever, whenever.
Faith is headstrong, rushed, and impulsive. She knows that she lives a life where she is totally dependent on others, (princesses don’t even dress themselves), and has been trying to learn how to do things for herself, but she soon realises she has not thought things through. She should have negotiated the conditions of her deal to her advantage (she does not even have appropriate shoes to wear, does not know how to light a fire, and has no weapons to defend herself from wild animals or any other dangers she might encounter).
Faith learns a lot in the three months she spends in the forest. She meets a hermit who helps her (despite her insistence that she does not want to cheat); she realises that she must think before she acts and that we need to learn to walk before we can run. Her beliefs are put to the test, as are her prejudices, and although she knows she has a specific role to play due to her position in life and she is not free to do as she likes, she cannot help but end up feeling quite close to the hermit.
The story, written in the third person, is made up of vivid vignettes illustrating both, Faith’s life in the castle at first, and then her attempts at survival in the forest (mostly unsuccessful and lucky escapes, including a lovely interlude with a bear cub). This is not a story about a girl who suddenly discovers she is good at everything and has a natural talent to survive in the wild. She makes mistakes, is sorely unprepared, and keeps getting into trouble. She is about to give up but the hermit helps her and convinces her to keep going. The story dedicates much more time to the first couple of days when we meet Faith and she goes into the forest than it does to the rest of the three months. Although there are some stirrings of a possible romance, and Faith has to admit to having developed feelings for the hermit, she is more passionate about tasting some chocolate after not having tried it for a few months than she is about any of the men in her life.
As some other reviewers have noted, this is no magical fairy tale, this is the tale of a determined (obstinate?) girl who learns the value of being prepared, of working hard for what you want, and of being truly independent.
The big reveal will not be a surprise to most readers, although it does tie things up nicely, and the actual ending, which some readers feel is a bit rushed, I thought made perfect sense and proved that Faith had learned from her experience and grown up.
The actual fairy tale is shorter than the e-book length suggests, as it contains a sample of the next fairy tale in the series (that looks quite good too).
An original fairy tale, which could facilitate interesting discussions about female role models (beware of the mention of her purity, which might be difficult to explain to very young kids), and the first of what looks like a very interesting series.
Thanks to Rosie and her fabulous team (remember to visit her blog), thanks to the author, and thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click and REVIEW!