Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Review: The Princess and the Page by Christine Farley

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Title: The Princess and the Page
Author: Christina Farley
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fairytales
Length: 228 pages

A dark secret lurks in Keira's family. She comes from a long line of Word Weavers who bring their stories to life when they use a magical pen. But Keira's mom is unable to face the truth of the family's history because the Word Weavers have been hunted for generations for their power. And so, she forbids Keira to write. Oblivious to the family's secret ability, and angry at her mom's rule of no fictional writing, Keira discovers her grandma's Word Weaver pen and uses it to write a story for the Girls' World fairy tale contest, believing it will bring her good luck. But when Keira decides to have her fairy tale reflect her family's imperfect life and has the princess in her story vanquished to a dark tower for eternity, she starts to wonder if anyone ever truly lives happily ever after. 

My Thoughts:
Keira's mother won't allow her to write stories, though deep in her bones, she feels the urge to do exactly that. When her best friend, Bella, talks her into writing a fairytale for a contest she uses the only pen left in the house; a special pen that her mother had thought was stolen. Acting out in anger against her mother's rediculous rules, Keira writes a story with an unhappy ending--and it wins the contest. The prize is a trip for four to the Chateau de Chenonceau in France where Gabrielle d'Estrees lived. But Keira finds it incredibly odd that Gabrielle was the name of her made up character. But that's not the only similarity to Keira's fairytale and she soon finds out that she plays a bigger part in the history of Chateau de Chenonceau than she thought possible. 

I love that this story sort of transcends just one genre. It's about a fairytale but it has a very strong mystery aspect to go along with the fantasy and it's also a bit of a ghost story! Plus that beginning had me thinking it was going to be a fast-paced thriller! I really love when children's stories go above and beyond like that.  

I found it fascinating that the author drew inspiration from a trip she took to the Chateau de Chenonceau in France and that Gabrielle d'Estrees was a real Duchess that lived there in the 1500's. Farley did a wonderful job at taking that experience and making this setting seem as real as possible. Also, I absolutely love when literature has a bit of history to it and loved learning more about this location and it's historical personas in the author's letter at the end of the book.   

The main character, Keira, is relatable with her overbearing, controlling mother and her urge to write. Her best friend, Bella, can be a little snippy at times but their friendship adds to the story. And Chet is the kind of kooky, mischief-maker character that I tend to love. He really helps push the girls beyond their comfort zones (or just joins in on their shenanigans) and keeps everyone on their toes. 

The overall idea of the Word Weavers is fantastic! I loved that a magical pen could change so much about the world and history. I could definitely see this idea continued on to other stories. I'd actually love to see Keira try to take on other bits of history (most likely with disastrous consequences!) 

This would be the perfect book for young readers who love fairytales, castles, a good mystery, or for any girls on the precipice of still wanting to be a princess and growing up. 

My Rating: 4.5 stars

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  1. This book sounds lovely -- a magic pen! Gosh, I wish i could have one of those! I like how important writing is in this.