Author: Melanie Cellier
Narrator: Esther Wane
Audiobook Length: 9 hours 25 minutes
One dark and stormy night, lost and alone, Alyssa finds herself knocking on the door of a castle.
After a lifetime spent in the deep forest, Alyssa has no idea what to expect on the other side.
What she finds is two unruly young princesses and one very handsome prince. When Alyssa accepts the job of Princess Companion she knows her life will change. What she doesn’t know is that the royal family is about to be swept up in unexpected danger and intrigue and that she just might be the only thing standing between her kingdom and destruction.
This retelling of the classic fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea, reimagines the risks and rewards that come when one royal family goes searching for a true princess.
Danger and romance await a woodcutter’s daughter in a royal palace.
Find It On: Goodreads / Amazon (Novel) / Amazon (Box Set)
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I am a huge sucker for fairy tale retellings, so I was excited to see that Melanie Cellier has two series filled with them! I decided to start with The Four Kingdoms and read them in order beginning with The Princess Companion. This one is a retelling of The Princess and the Pea, which is a rarity in the novel world, or, at least, I have yet to come across one. There are two main plots in this story, which are balanced well between the parts of the novel. The first is the romance and the second is the political turmoil in the kingdom of Arcadia.
Alyssa is a woodcutter’s daughter who seeks shelter one night in what turns out to be the Winter Palace. She ends up the princess companion to 11-years-old twin princesses, Sophie, and Lily, and she helps to take care of them. She also ends up meeting Prince Max, who is being groomed for the throne along with preparing to return to the Summer Palace where he must choose his bride among the visiting princesses. Max and Alyssa do not begin on the right foot as Max is very standoffish towards her, but they soon warm up to each other. I kept expecting this enemies origin to be explained, but I could not find one. Instead, I had to just assume it was because he was weary of all women introduced to him as he was reluctant to be forced to marry and he initially assumed Alyssa was a suitor.
As a retelling, this story hits the mark as there is the basics from the original tale, although I wished some pieces happened slower and others were sped up. There are some elements of Cinderella through some of the other characters, which was a nice addition. Alyssa and Max had a case of insta-love, but I did appreciate that they did not immediately go to a HEA and instead had time passed where they got to know each other first. Alyssa knew nothing about Royal life, but she worked at trying to learn more, especially for the sake of Sophie and Lily.
The story does become a little repetitive as it moves slowly along following each passing day. There are also some word choice repetitions, including the overuse of “woodcutter’s daughter.” These did bog down the story a little bit. As this is a fairy tale, the reader has to take some liberties with the realism, i.e. Alyssa being easily accepted by the family. Since this is necessary for the story to move forward, I chose to look past it. This story is clearly written for a younger audience in its style, so I can understand why certain choices were made, although I do wish there was a little more complexity to the characters. If you’re looking for a more in-depth retelling, then this one may not be for you; however, if you are in the mood for a nice simple, yet enjoyable retelling, then you may enjoy this novel. I look forward to trying out the next one in the series!
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