Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to Spell Charming

What a delight to discover an author who writes the kind of books I loved to find under the tree on Christmas morning!

THE THIRTEENTH PRINCESS by Diane Zahler, Harper Collins, 2010

Spunky Zita, about to turn twelve and nearing the awe-inspiring age of young womanhood, longs for love: love of family, love of parents, love for a boyfriend, but, of course, that’s way off in the future. How delighted she is to find out she is the sister of the twelve princesses who live in the castle!

But why is she working in the kitchen? When she discovers everyone knows she is the 13th princess, she grows even more curious. Wouldn’t you?

Readers will be caught up in the enchantment. They will puzzle over the good witch and the bad witch and try to figure out which witch is which. Of course, there are good guys. And then there’s a hidden message about things not being as they appear. Love and loyalty ring true.

Author Zahler was inspired by the Grimm fairy tale, “The Dancing Princesses” or as it is also called, “The Worn Out Dancing Shoes,” and added a character. Her descriptions are vivid. Building on the original, she creates scenes that are Disney-esque.

Zita, the 13th princess, is the author’s addition to the tale and she is both perky and modest, humble, sweet, daring, courageous, sincere, determined, faithful, yet definitely not of super strength. She has her own weaknesses, a few flaws here and there, enough to humanize her.

How could her father not love her? He is surely under some kind of spell! Well, is he? You’ll have to ask your daughter to read this and find out.

The author has always loved fairy tales and promises us more. Her home is “an old farmhouse held together by magic spells and duct tape.” In such idyllic surroundings, she has turned her lively imagination on “The Princess and the Pea” next. It’s coming out in February as The True Princess. I plan to share as soon as I get my hands on a copy.


  1. Sounds enchanting. Thank you, Joan

  2. An author whose house is held together by magic and duct tape is one I'd like to meet!


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