Speak, Apr 2008, $8.99
Most if not all of the people in Tyalt envy Princess Aurelia, heir to the throne; however, ironically Aurelia envies her countrymen. She knows being a royal means pampering, but also connotes responsibility to her country. Aurelia dreams of marrying for love not state with some husband who wants to be the next tyrant; while her father the king expects her to marry whomever he chooses makes the best political deal for Tyalt. She would like to travel the countryside free to explore without bodyguards every step of the way and without fear of embarrassing the throne.
However someone wants the heir removed. After a failed attempt on her life, the King enforces her protection and assigns the son of his former top operator, Robert to investigate the assassination attempt. Robert and Aurelia have been friends forever, but both hide their feelings for one another. However, Aurelia is not going to remain cloistered nor wait for her unknown adversary to try again. She feels only she can save herself so she risks her crown, her love, and her life to do so.
This is an exciting young adult historical fiction that cleverly uses references to anchor time (“The Age of Reason”) and place (other neighboring kingdoms) as Anne Osterlund enlighteningly avoids dumbing down by treating her audience with respect in regards to their intelligence. The courageous princess wants more out of life than tedious nobles fawning at her feet at boring parties. She soon learns that sometimes you get what you wish for when several assassination attempts occur. However, that just makes her even braver. Readers will appreciate Princess Aurelia’s rude awakening to the downside of royalty.