Format: Kindle edition, 288 pages
Published: 2nd November 2017 by Penguin
Genres: Fantasy, young adult
Rating: ★ ★ ★
When fairy tale obsessed Lottie Pumpkin starts at the infamous Rosewood Hall, she is not expecting to share a room with the Crown Princess of Maradova, Ellie Wolf. Due to a series of lies and coincidences, 14-year-old Lottie finds herself pretending to be the princess so that Ellie can live a more normal teenage life.
Lottie is thrust into the real world of royalty – a world filled with secrets, intrigue and betrayal. She must do everything she can to help Ellie keep her secret, but with school, the looming Maradovian ball and the mysterious new boy Jamie, she’ll soon discover that reality doesn’t always have the happily ever after you’d expect…
A thrilling world of parties, politics and bad ass princesses, this is the first book in the brand new series THE ROSEWOOD CHRONICLES.
A copy of this novel was given in exchange for an honest review.
This book has been such a delight to read for several reasons, all of which will be explored in this review that will hopefully leave you, the reader, convinced that you have to read Undercover Princess.
Eating animals just didn’t seem very princessy. How could she expect little woodland critters to assist her in her daily tasks if she was going to turn around and eat them?
Let’s start with Lottie Pumpkin – yes, her name is ridiculous, yes, she does know it, and yes, she’s very sensitive about it. Well, Lottie is just about sensitive when it comes to everything and anything, which, in an era of “strong female protagonists” telling other girls they have to “man up”, is quite refreshing. Lottie’s greatest strength, aside from being brave, being kind, and being unstoppable, is that she is perceptive and so in touch with her emotions – very unusual for a teenager. Having a likeable protagonist who is a breath of fresh air is so important, and Connie Glynn nails this one.
It was no secret that her love of English stemmed from her childhood obsession with fairy tales. She was so fascinated by words and how they could be used as signifiers to express abstract thoughts and feelings; it all seemed to beautiful and romantic to her.
Then we’ve got Ellie, who so perfectly complements Lottie, and, if we’re being frank, is everything Lottie isn’t. Ellie is wild, she is daring, and she turns Lottie’s whole world upside down. I loved reading about a rebel with a cause, which is exactly what Ellie is. So for readers who like their fair share of badass female characters, I present to you the Crown Princess of Maradover, Ellie Wolfson.
Ellie didn’t fit into the cookie-cutter image of a girl, let alone a princess. She was unapologetic and ferocious and this aristocratic world resented her for it.
Rosewood is also fascinating. It gave me Hogwarts vibes – a boarding school with three houses that each student must take an aptitude test in order to find out which house they belong to. There is, of course, inter-house competition, and for this book at least, you have your Draco Malfoy and his cronies. Then there’s the mystery of William Tufty, the founder of Rosewood – like the brilliant author she is, Glynn manages to sow enough seeds for a sequel, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it when it comes out!
Sometimes the world can get very loud and people can get caught up trying to get their own voice heard and they end up silencing those that really need the space to speak.
The only reason this highly re-readable book is a three star instead of a five is partly because of the mild queer-baiting, which I’m hoping will still be picked up in later book(s). You’ll know what I mean when you read the book. There’s also a problem with mischaracterisation, particularly with the introduction of Ellie – it just seems that characters are frequently OOC to suit whatever drama Glynn chooses for the sake of having drama, but this book really doesn’t need it.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, she could hear her mother’s voice reciting a verse from her distant past.
They found each other in the woods,
Together they did build a house.
A story her mother used to tell her, before she knew how brutal the world could be.
The final thing that put me off this wonderful book that was otherwise a delight to read is, even now, I struggle to tell if the book is satirical or genuine. For example, the Princess of Maradova, Ellie Wolfson, disguised herself as… Ellie Wolf. This is addressed in the book, but as I said before, it’s difficult to tell if it’s in satire or if the other characters are genuinely dense. I’ve been left with the same feeling a few times throughout reading the novel, which makes the writing seem somewhat clumsy.
“I bet you ten pounds someone falls in the pool.” “Twenty pounds says I push one of them.”
Otherwise, this book was intriguing and difficult to put down! I would definitely recommend it to people who are into princesses, fairy tales, and are looking for a very light read. Have you read this book? Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments!