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A True Princess (Fairy Tale Princesses)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  1,096 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
Twelve-year-old Lilia is not a very good servant. In fact, she's terrible! She daydreams, she breaks dishes, and her cooking is awful. Still, she hardly deserves to be sold off to the mean-spirited miller and his family. Refusing to accept that dreadful fate, she decides to flee. With her best friend, Kai, and his sister, Karina, beside her, Lilia heads north to find the f ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by HarperCollins (first published April 1st 2010)
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Nov 12, 2011 April rated it really liked it
The more I look at the cover of A True Princess by Diane Zahler, the more I think this cover is really pretty. Friends, I’m really just attracted to bright colors, magpie syndrome and all. I guess I’m also really attracted to fairy tale retellings, especially when it’s an under the radar fairy tale. Zahler takes on The Princess And The Pea in A True Princess.

Read the rest of my review here
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids

review I absolutely loved this retelling of Princess and the Pea and it's unique spin. A True Princess is a fantastic story with a fabulous main character who's strong, independent, fearless and one I think many readers will enjoy getting to know.

Lilia doesn't know much about where she came from, and in her dreams she has flashbacks of her life before she ended up on a farm. Found when she was a toddler by a kind farmer who had two younger children of his own, she grew up close to Kia and Karin
Feb 14, 2012 Bo rated it it was amazing
Among the many delights of Zahler's hybrid narrative are her minor characters -- the nisse, a cantankerous but well-intentioned imp, the Elf-King's daughter, an embodiment of dangerous beauty, and Ove, a charming Border collie (nicely depicted on the cover!), who is protector and companion on Lilia's journey of self-discovery.How many children's book writers are bold enough to incorporate Goethe's verse into their witch's brew of legends? More, please!
Jan 22, 2011 Danielle rated it really liked it
Left with no family and discovered by a lowly sheepherder whom had recently been remarried, Lilia is very much out of her element. Much like Cinderella, instead of being accepted into this new family, the new wife raises her as a servant, a position to which she is quite terrible at. After the discovery that another addition to the family will end in her being “sold” Lilia decides it’s time to discover where she comes from and who she was meant to be. An adventure awaits not only her, but her co ...more
Ea Solinas
Apr 29, 2015 Ea Solinas rated it really liked it
Let's have a moment of applause for Diane Zahler. I have never seen another author do what she has done.

While she reworked a fairy tale into a fantasy novel before, Zahler does something slightly different in her second novel "A True Princess" -- she blends together two different fairy tales into one delicately-wrought fantasy story, and then drapes it with some Germanic/Norse folklore. It's a charming, cleverly-written little story that succeeds in surprising you.

As a baby, Lilia was found in t
Alanna (The Flashlight Reader)
There are several things in life that I find hard to resist: shoes, free books, and retellings of fairy tales. A True Princess (Diane Zahler) was a quaint retelling of the classic fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.” Unlike the well-known fairy tale version, however, this retelling is packed full of adventure and “girl power."

The story begins when Lilia, the adventurous protagonist of the story, finds herself in a very difficult situation. She has to decide whether or not to run away from the
Katieb (MundieMoms)
I absolutely loved this retelling of Princess and the Pea and it's unique spin. A True Princess is a fantastic story with a fabulous main character who's strong, independent, fearless and one I think many readers will enjoy getting to know.

Lilia doesn't know much about where she came from, and in her dreams she has flashbacks of her life before she ended up on a farm. Found when she was a toddler by a kind farmer who had two younger children of his own, she grew up close to Kia and Karina and th
Jun 12, 2010 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Lilia has never known her true identity. When she was around two years old, she was found floating down the river in a basket. The man who rescued her took her home and raised her alongside his own children, Kai and Karina. However, the man’s cruel wife, Ylva, the children’s stepmother, insisted on treating Lilia like a servant. Now that Lilia is almost thirteen years old, and Ylva is pregnant, she has decided Lilia must leave to work as a servant for another family, for there is not enough food ...more
Jun 22, 2014 Jill rated it really liked it
Found floating down the river in a basket as a baby, Lilia was raised by a shepherd, but never allowed to be a true part of the family. When Lilia overhears plans to sell her to the miller, she decides it is time to leave the farm behind, and travel upriver in search of her origins. On the way, she is joined by Kai and Karina, the shepherd’s biological children, who run away from home to accompany Lilia. They find more adventure than they bargained for when Kai is enchanted by the Elf King’s dau ...more
Barb Middleton
Feb 13, 2012 Barb Middleton rated it liked it
Shelves: fairy-tale
A student said this is her favorite book and I “had to read it.”

Lilia is an orphan taken in by a family with two children close to her in age, Kai and Karina. Their mother has died and the stepmother does not like her adopted children. Pregnant with her first child she wants to sell Lilia to the Miller’s household to be a servant. The Miller is mean and Lilia decides to runaway and find her family. She knows her family is from the North and she has a blanket that she was found wrapped in as a ba
Sarah BT
Mar 09, 2011 Sarah BT rated it really liked it
If your tween (or even teen) readers are anything like the ones I know at my library, fairy tales always go over well. A True Princess has it's roots in The Princess and the Pea, but that's only part of the story and the plot stands firmly on its own.

Lilia is searching for her family but also searching for a way to rescue Kai. These stories weave together nicely and have a very fairy tale feel to them. While the story might be a bit predictable, especially for older readers, it's still a lot of
Cindy Hudson
Mar 01, 2011 Cindy Hudson rated it really liked it
There are many rules to define a true princess, and Lilia seems to break all of them. Breaking the first one, A True Princess Does Not Eavesdrop, is how Lilia finds out that her stepmother plans to sell her as a serving girl to the miller. It’s a fateful moment, because that’s when she decides to run away to the north. As a baby she was found floating in a basket down the river from that direction, and she longs to discover who she truly is.

Joining her on the journey are her adopted sister and b
Apr 10, 2011 Natalie rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
The life of an orphan girl who cannot cook porridge is not an easy one, as Lilia has reason to know. She was discovered in a wrapped in a rainbow blanket in a basket that had floated down the river from the north and nobody knew who she might be. A kind man with two children of his own took her in, but his new wife was not so kind. She treated Lilia like a servant and when it came time to have a child of her own she was determined to send Lilia to a new, more cruel, master. Lilia ran away withou ...more
Silvara Wilde
May 27, 2016 Silvara Wilde rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star
Check out my other reviews, discussions and link ups at Fantasy of the Silver Dragon.

I loved how devoted Lilia, Kai and Karina were to each other. Even though Lilia was basically adopted (found floating down the river in a basket as a baby), they all love each other like siblings.

I was expecting the reveal about who Lilia's parents were, but it was still interesting to find out how she was lost all those years ago. There was a good bit of world building for such a short book. I liked the elves,
Dixie A.
Sep 04, 2014 Dixie A. rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
While the story does include a clever usage of the Princess and the Pea tale, it's not about that at all, which disappoints me as princess tests are very intriguing to me. The story is almost excessively straightforward: hear a rumor about being sold off as a servant, run away; promise a cloak clasp to save your friend, find the clasp.

It wasn't a bad tale, but there was nothing outstanding about it. I wouldn't reread it.
Meg McGregor
Feb 16, 2015 Meg McGregor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairy-tales
I really enjoyed reading this book!

I loved how caring and courageous Lilia was!

I really enjoyed this version of The Princess and the Pea.

I don't want to give anything away, but I figued out who Lilia really was, very early in the story!

This is a fun read and I look forward to reading more by the author!

Now, since I don't sleep very well at all, in any bed I am in; does that mean that I am a true princess, too?
May 30, 2013 Bethe rated it really liked it
Another great entry in Zahler's collection of fairy tale re-imaginings, this one based on "The Princess and the Pea". Her books are a good next step for readers who are ready for a little bit more that the Whatever After series but not quite ready for Jessica Day George's princess stories. Love the border collie on the cover!!
Jun 05, 2012 Lacey rated it liked it
This is a quick, but enjoyable read. I loved it, however I felt like Lilia was a bit older than her age. I felt she should have been 17-18 and not 12. Other than that I really like it! Fun retelling of The Princess and the Pea!
May 10, 2011 Mary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
I liked this version of the Princess and the Pea. Diane Zahler does a great job taking the preface of a classic tale and making it her own. I can't wait for her next book to come out.
Mel (Daily Prophecy)
This book definitely reads like a MG. Sometimes I read MG books that feel more mature, but that's not the case with this one. It is a cute story though, that is a bit too fast, but adventurous for the younger audience.

Lilia is a terrible house maid. She makes lumpy porridge and she falls asleep during her chores. One day she is sold into marriage to another guy, but she is not having it; so she runs away. She is followed by her not-really-related brother and sister. (Lilia was found in a basket
Apr 13, 2011 Ashley rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, review-copy, blog, signed
Originally reviewed on my blog, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing.

Sometime around the end of last year, I stumbled across a page for A True Princess by Diane Zahler which is a retelling of The Princess and the Pea. Retellings of this story are rare, at least to my knowledge, so I instantly interested. And then the author caught my eye. I had read The Thirteenth Princess by Diane early in 2010 and I was completely charmed by Zita and her story. Because I so enjoyed The Thirteenth Princess, wh
Feb 03, 2017 Malayna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 5-stars
I think that this book was amazing. Like I said about The Thirteenth Princess, I have read this multiple times. I think it might be one of my favorite books, even though it is a quite easy read. I would definitely recommend this to fans of The School of Good and Evil or The Fairy Tale Matchmaker.
When I first began reading A True Princess by Diane Zahler, I didn’t have high expectations. Within the first chapter, we learn that our main character, Lilia, is an orphan who was found floating down the river in a basket. OK, so she’s Moses? Not only that, but her adopted father initially only keeps her because of her stunning violet eyes. Really? On top of all that, she’s pretty useless. The book opens with Lilia eavesdropping on Jorgen and Ylva, the couple who raised her. Ylva has never like ...more
I first noticed Diane Zahler's books in the bookstore, mostly because the cover was so pretty. Really, this is *exactly* what a middle grade fairy tale retelling cover needs to look like. Anyway, since we all know that judging books by their covers it the right way to go, Zahler's fairy tale retellings have been on my mental to-read list for a while now. I recently got a hold of three of them, and randomly decided to start with A True Princess.

I didn't bother to read a plot description before st
Lilia is a foundling, but usually that doesn't bother her. She's a servant to the family she lives with, but truthfully, not a very good one. She can hardly cook at all, she's always daydreaming, and often falls asleep in the middle of the day. Well, the last one may be because she can't ever get comfortable enough to sleep at night.

When her adopted family decides to sell her to the miller, she decides it's time to strike out on her own. As far as anyone knows, she came from up north, so that's
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here.

The is a book that sounded tailor made for me so I was rather disappointed at not enjoying it. There were elements of the book I enjoyed. The writing is descriptive and the northern European setting with the Northern Lights was interesting. Lilia is a brave heroine and a loyal friend. There are heroic knights, a handsome prince, and the whole "boy next door" storyline. I liked that while Lilia was the princess who passed the test the outcome revealed was far different than
The Winter Rose
Mar 11, 2011 The Winter Rose rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
I read another book by Diane Zahler, "The Thirteenth Princess" and was not impressed by her work - the story, while cute was too flat, predictable and cloying. However, I adore fairy tales and princess stories so I eagerly devour any and all I can get my hands on. Thus I decided to give Zahler another try. I'm glad I did.

This story is much improved over the last one I read. By no means is it particularly brillant, but I found it to be a very adorable story. Zahler's writing quality and character
Danyelle Leafty
Oct 24, 2010 Danyelle Leafty rated it liked it
Shelves: bookshelf-2011
I liked how this turned into a retelling of The Princess and the Pea. And the addition of the elf king was an interesting and fresh take on the tale. The chapter headers were fun, because they all said something like: A true princess does not gossip, and then the chapter refuted that with the MC--who is a true princess--doing just that.

There were a few logical lapses that stuck out to me, that might not stick out for those in the intended age group. Such things as how easy their escape was, that
Tessa Joy
Mar 16, 2011 Tessa Joy rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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I grew up reading children's books and never wanted to do anything but write them. I'm the author of THE THIRTEENTH PRINCESS, A TRUE PRINCESS, PRINCESS OF THE WILD SWANS, SLEEPING BEAUTY'S DAUGHTERS, and my newest, BAKER'S MAGIC. I live in the country with my husband in what is aptly nicknamed the Bug House. Visit my website at

More about Diane Zahler...

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Fairy Tale Princesses (4 books)
  • The Thirteenth Princess
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