When Princess Amythest (aka Amy) is born, she receives gift upon gift from her fairy godmothers: charm, wit, grace, courage…and to her parent’s horror, her most eccentric fairy godmother grants her the gift of being ordinary! Unlike her impossibly beautiful and perfect sisters, Amy likes climbing trees, exploring forests, and getting into all manner of adventures. But when her despairing parents go one step too far in their plans to marry her off, Amy decides she needs to take matters into her own hands.
I mainly read this book because:
(a) It was a recommendation from Amrita, of Amrita By the Book (you can check out her Booktube channel here and her Bookstagram here); and
(b) I’ve been gobbling up every M. M. Kaye book I can find, after I fell deeply in love with The Far Pavilions earlier this year.
I’ll get straight to the point: The Ordinary Princess is a highly adorable story, and it’s a great reading choice for younger girls. Amy is such a determined little heroine, and she really takes control of her own life. She gets a job! She stands up for the kitchen maids! She refuses to let her parents destroy the countryside via dragon in an effort to marry her off! I loved her character so much.
I don’t mind reading books for younger readers, but I also really think that the book really holds up well for adult readers as well as children. It’s not too preachy or condescending, and it doesn’t have any major “yikes” moments, considering that it was written in the mid-1900s and published in the 1980s. Plus, the author drew all the illustrations in my edition of the novel, and her artwork is just lovely to behold.
There is a playfulness about the language and writing style of this book, which I hadn’t really seen in M. M. Kaye’s historical and mystery books. Dare I say it, it was reminiscent of Georgette Heyer’s lively and humorous writing style. All of which is to say: I highly recommend it!
PS: Disney, please go make an adaptation of this movie! Or Studio Ghibli, which would be a very different and absolutely fantastic option!