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The Ordinary Princess

4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,907 Ratings  ·  1,129 Reviews
Along with Wit, Charm, Health, and Courage, Princess Amy of Phantasmorania receives a special fairy christening gift: Ordinariness. Unlike her six beautiful sisters, she has brown hair and freckles, and would rather have adventures than play the harp, embroider tapestries . . . or become a Queen. When her royal parents try to marry her off, Amy runs away and, because she's ...more
Published (first published 1980)
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Community Reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This one's for all you fairy tale lovers out there. This is a straight-up, no-holds-barred fairy tale, with lovely princesses who wear crowns and beautiful gowns and genteelly toss golden balls to each other and never get dirty or sweaty--


. . . well, actually, this story is mostly about the youngest sister of those princesses, whose fairy godmother took one look at the list of all the gifts this princess received at her christening, like Charm and Courage and Grace and Wit, and promptly decreed,
Jun 02, 2007 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: girls ages 8-12
Shelves: childhood-faves
"Violets are blue,
Rosemary's green,
When I am King,
You shall be Queen"

This was my absolute favorite book when I was a young girl. Amy, a smart, plucky, decidedly NOT classically beautiful princess, is given at birth the magical gift of being "ordinary". Years later, Amy reaches marriageable age. Since she isn't beautiful and vapid, her parents are quite worried whether any prince will have her, and there's some rash talk of giving her as the prize in a dragonslaying challenge. She doesn't like th
Mar 18, 2008 Dani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who is tired of Shrek, Ella Enchanted, The Princess Diaries, etc.
Shelves: childrens-books
This was one of my favorite books as a child. I recently reread it in a fit of nostalgia.

I was disappointed that the fantastic 1986 cover has been replaced by some hot mess picture of an elven girl in a green dress. What happened to the 80's princess with freckles, frizzy brown hair, and a ridiculously ornate purple dress?

Reading the book as an adult, I was so relieved to read an earnest fairy tale for once. So many "fairy tale princess books" on the market are hideous, smarmy, wink-wink tales
Dec 06, 2014 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014

Long and long ago, when Oberon was king of the fairies, there reigned over the fair country of Phantasmorania a monarch who had six beautiful daughters.
They were in every way all that real princesses should be, for their hair was as yellow as the gold that is mined by the little gnomes in the mountains of the north, their eyes were as blue as the larkspurs in the palace gardens, and they had complexions like wild rose petals and cream.

This is not their story! Barbie clones with perfect h

Mind you folks that this is straight up fairytale released in the 80's , and the target demographic are tweens, so the writing is more classic children's book than YA. I love this precious book nonetheless. This is a story of Princess Amy of Phantasmorania, who has mousy brown hair and a freckled nose, because she was gifted with ordinariness at birth (obviously,her fairy godmother was drunk). (view spoiler)
Jubilation Lee
As sometimes happens, I was completely and utterly convinced I had read this book before, and picked it up for a quick little re-read to remind myself of the plot.

Wow, Monica. Fail. Because I not only have apparently never read a page of Ordinary Princess, it also is such a brilliant novel that I’m sort of depressed I didn’t grow up with it. It deserved to be one of my favorite childhood stories, dammit, and now it never will get the chance! Sad face.

Anyway, getting off the “Now in retrospect my
Nov 28, 2015 Talltree rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-fantasy
Quaint, witty and adorable fairy tale romance novella about an Ordinary but very likeable princess and how she finds her HEA. Would have give it 5 stars if only it wasn't a clean romance. 4.25 stars!
Oh my goodness, this was such a delightful book! I'm glad that I picked it up - sometimes it's easy to discount these kinds of books, but this one is a perfect example of why it's silly to do so.

Princess Amy is the seventh daughter of King Hulderbrand and Queen Rhodesia. All throughout history, the seventh daughter has been the most beautiful, the most extraordinary princess of them all - but not this time. This time, the most powerful Fairy, Crustacea, is out of patience when she arrives, dela
Deborah O'Carroll
First read: 4/16/2015

AAAAHHH I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. Cute, sweet, hilarious, perfect... A whimsical, beautiful, original fairytale.

Definitely a favorite! I want to reread it already. Also the illustrations are absolutely fabulous.

I loved the plot, the humor, the total fairytale-feel, the Englishness, the Ordinary Princess herself, and of course Peregrine. How it all turned out was just awesome.

I. Adored. This. Book. <3

Re-Read: 2/26/2016

I first read The Ordinary Princess in April last year
Courtney Johnston
Dec 01, 2012 Courtney Johnston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, own, favorites
Last night I was so tired that I found myself crying for pretty much no reason. Just those small soft tears that come out and surprise you. I'm five weeks into the job of my life (so far, anyway) and I was exhausted. And scanning my shelves for something soothing to take to bed - something that would both settle my mind and make me happy - I settled on 'The Ordinary Princess'.

I remember borrowing and borrowing this book from my primary school library; I can see even now the shelf it sat on. Year
Emma Clifton
Mar 19, 2016 Emma Clifton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful and sweet little book! I do love epic stories with action and danger and adventure, but now and then, I need something that's just happy and adorable. This book is a perfect spring read!
Lisa Vegan
Dec 25, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents and young kids (especially girls) & everyone
Recommended to Lisa by: Chelsea
Charming book. This would have been one of my favorite books had I read it as a kid. I found it both enchanting and fun to read, reading it for the first time as an adult. A must read for kids & adults, especially young girls & their parents. Love the twist on the standard fairy tale. The illustrations by the author are lovely.

I’ll be giving this as a gift to several little girls.
As delightful as I remembered! The kids really liked it, too! This is sort of a rare thing these days, in that it's a romance for children. Princess Amy's age is never talked about, but the entire book she's trying to dodge a horrible arranged marriage, and falls in love on her own. Sweet and charming, and I'd forgotten what a hilarious satire it is of classic fairy tales.
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

Once upon a time, there was a faraway kingdom called Phantasmorania, ruled by a benevolent King and Queen. This happy royal couple was also blessed with the birth of six beautiful daughters, each princess more beautiful than the last, with rippling blonde hair, jewel blue eyes, and the fairest complexions of palest cream. And, each princess was given the name of a precious stone - Diamond, Opal, Emerald, Sapphire, Crystal, and Pearl. One fine day, the roy
Grace Mullins
Mar 20, 2016 Grace Mullins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awww, that was so cute!
Jun 06, 2015 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found in a charity shop, so reread again. Didn't know this as a child, but I've read it at least three times as an adult to try to make it up to young me.

Reminds me a bit of The 13 Clocks and Many Moons by James Thurber, or The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame or even The Light Princess by George MacDonald... if you like any in my list here, read the others too....
One of my all-time favorite books, and one I reread regularly. When Princess Amethyst is born, her (slightly creepy) agreeableness prompts the oldest and crankiest of the fairies to give her the gift of ordinariness. And what a gift! Amy's fate suddenly takes a sharp turn, which results in mistaken identities, dragons, fake portraits, jewelry made from trees, and grandly named woodland animals.

Charming, quirky, and one of those rare books that presents a fully-formed world quite removed from our
Katy Noyes
Dec 05, 2015 Katy Noyes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a refreshingly contemporary feel to this princess-needs-a-husband story.

In true fairytale style, the seventh princess is blessed with gifts by a host of fairies, but as her father fears, it goes wrong and one slightly bitter fairy 'blesses' her with ordinariness.

So no golden curls, stunning beauty and sublime grace for Princess Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne. Her dark hair and freckles make Amy (no ordinary princess can be called anything else) stop every suitor
Hannah  Walsh
Feb 15, 2015 Hannah Walsh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First Read in 2012

Absolutely precious <3

I was like "awwwww!!" the whole time.


Re-read in 2015
Sadie Hartmann
Apr 22, 2016 Sadie Hartmann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved-classics
I saw the new 2002 cover of this book with the same title and I thought, I have read this book! Sure enough, clicking on "other editions" this is the one I had when I was younger! Man, I wish I still had this. Where do books go? I don't remember giving this away.
I adored this book and if I remember correctly, I particularly enjoyed it because the princess didn't *want* to be a princess. She would creep out of the castle and go play in the woods barefoot. This story was great and probably started
Elinor  Loredan
Mar 04, 2013 Elinor Loredan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Perhaps what I love best about this delight of a story (quite apart from the great wisteria and lovely Forest of Faraway) is the whimsical narrative voice that is sympathetic to the characters and makes them endearing, even the controlling King and Queen who only seem to care about marrying Amy off to a royal Highness. From the start the whole thing is hued in warm gold.

I do find it rather hard to believe, though, that no one in the castle seems to take an interest in Amy beyond making her less
Nov 07, 2015 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys fairy tales, fairy tale retellings, and fairy tale-like fantasy
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2008
A charming, quirky little quasi-fairy tale about a princess who was given the gift of ordinariness at her birth. I love the plot...everything that happens, and especially the ending, is just right. It made me sigh happily at the end. The characters aren't terribly complex, but Princess Amy is a likeable protagonist if ever I met one, and the courtiers and family members surrounding her are woefully funny in their ridiculousness. To quote Erin, "You know how the movie Enchanted poked fun at fairy ...more
Jun 29, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first discovered this book as a teenager, and it instantly became one of my favorite books. The other day, the song from the book kept running through my head, so I decided to re-read it. I couldn't find my copy, so I went to the library and checked out the copy I first read and fell in love with. I love this older version and it's beautiful cover. (So, I went online and looked for that version to buy. I ordered one and hope it is what I want. If not, I'll give it to one of my sisters since th ...more
[Name Redacted]
Huh. Well, that was disappointing. I wonder if i might have thought this better had I not read so many variations of the same story before? The key problem I have is that the princess is ordinary in appearance only, not in character or wit or intellect. She's like so many other heroines in books of this stripe, books and tales which pre-date this story by decades if not centuries. And the ending? Typical of every story of this sort -- I was hoping for a tale in which the princess bucked the ster ...more
Princess Amy, although her name really is Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne, is as ordinary a girl as you could wish for thanks to a fairy blessing(?) at her christening, and she is ten times more a princess than most of the sparkling, bejeweled, pristine princesses we read about in so many fairy stories. Not to say those types of princesses don't have their place, but there is also a place for princesses like Amy.

Imagine being born as the youngest of 7 daughters and the
Ruth ☆☽
A charming, old-fashioned princess story for little girls of all ages :) Easily read in a day or so, the kind of book to pick up when you're perhaps feeling a little jaded and just longing for a 'happily ever after' ending.
Aug 28, 2012 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short, very sweet story for younger readers about a princess given "ordinariness" by a fairy godmother. I liked most that Amy is never taken aback, and always is quick to deal with situations, with considerable good cheer.
Jun 12, 2012 Whitney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story with a sturdy independent streak clothed in a classic (think Hans Christian Andersen with a literary voice that sounds a bit like Kate DiCamillo's "Tale of Despereaux")fairytale form.
Mary Catelli
A light fairy-tale retelling with some minor twists. The fairy who arrives late at the christening of the seventh princess gives her Ordinariness. She promptly demonstrates it by screaming like a tired baby surrounded by a lot of noise.

Her looks immediately start to change to a rather ordinary and freckled appearance. Not exactly hindered by her discovery that she could climb down the wisteria and frolic in the Forest of Faraway with the wild animals while her sisters played catch with a golden
Heather L T
Jan 20, 2016 Heather L T rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As far as fairytales go, 'The Ordinary Princess' is one of the best. Growing up I never did like the classic, beautiful princesses such as Cinderella and Aurora - Princess Amethyst -Amy- is more my style!

I love the setting M. M. Kaye sets. See below:

"The Forest of Faraway is surely the most beautiful place in the world. Between the great tree trunks the ground is carpeted with deep emerald moss, all starry with flowers. Countless wild birds build their nests there, and on moonlight nights in spr
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A book EVERY girl should read... 7 50 Nov 09, 2014 07:10PM  
Loved it cos she gets to ruin her dress & make a mess! 1 15 Mar 26, 2012 05:31PM  
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M. M. Kaye (Mary Margaret) was born in India and spent her early childhood and much of her early-married life there. Her family ties with the country are strong: her grandfather, father, brother and husband all served the British Raj. After India's independence, her husband, Major-General Goff Hamilton of Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (the famous Indian Army regiment featured in The Far Pav ...more
More about M.M. Kaye...

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“This story was written many moons ago under an apple tree in an orchard in Kent, which is one of England's prettiest counties . . . I had read at least twenty of the [fairy tales] when I noticed something that had never struck me before--I suppose because I had always taken it for granted. All the princesses, apart from such rare exceptions as Snow White, were blond, blue-eyed, and beautiful, with lovely figures and complexions and extravagantly long hair. This struck me as most unfair, and suddenly I began to wonder just how many handsome young princes would have asked a king for the hand of his daughter if that daughter had happened to be gawky, snub-nosed, and freckled, with shortish mouse-colored hair? None, I suspected. They would all have been of chasing after some lissome Royal Highness with large blue eyes and yards of golden hair and probably nothing whatever between her ears! It was in that moment that a story about a princess who turned out to be ordinary jumped into my mind, and the very next morning I took my pencil box and a large rough-notebook down to the orchard and, having settled myself under an apple tree in full bloom, began to write . . . the day was warm and windless and without a cloud in the sky. A perfect day and a perfect place to write a fairy story.” 36 likes
“...for though she was ordinary, she possessed health, wit, courage, charm, and cheerfulness. But because she was not beautiful, no one ever seemed to notice these other qualities, which is so often the way of the world.” 26 likes
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