When I first got this book, I thought I’d read it before. There was a princess who wasn’t really a princess, a prediction of a terrible death and a boy who wouldn’t be able to marry a princess or a pauper. It’s been done before. Many times. But this take is different. Author Eilis O’Neal blows some fresh wind into this old tale.
Sixteen year old Princess Nalia finds out she isn’t really a princess at all. Instead she’s Sinda, the daughter of a common weaver. He was so heartbroken when the child’s mother left him soon after the birth that he willingly gave the baby to the King and Queen to raise.
At the time of the real princess’ birth, an oracle predicted that the she may die before her sixteenth birthday. Wizard advisers to the crown came up with the idea of switching the babies. The real princess would be locked away safely until the danger passed while the false princess would know nothing of the deception.
When the prophesy doesn’t come to pass, they decide it’s time to bring back the true princess. So, out goes Sinda to live with an aunt she doesn’t know and who doesn’t want her. She also leaves behind the only parents she ever knew plus her best friend, a boy named Kiernan.
This is when Sinda’s life of adventure REALLY begins.
Though the story seems familiar, it has magical elements, unpredictable twists, romance and a gusty heroine that keep it fresh. A combination I truly enjoy. There were also a couple of times I found myself crying. That always makes me happy (HA!).
As far as I can tell this is Eilis O’Neal’s only novel, but she has other published stories. You can read them and more about the author at her website: http://www.eilisoneal.com/