Hey, writers and readers!
It’s not a good month without an indie novel or two. Today I’ll be reviewing Princess of Ceshela by Teralyn Mitchell. Check out the review below and make sure to give your two cents in the comments section if you’ve already read the book, too!
Rating: 4 stars
Orphaned at the age of four, Elizabeth has always been haunted by a feeling of loss and loneliness and the unwavering desire to belong.
Her life is turned upside down when she’s face to face with two strangers claiming to be her parents. Elizabeth quickly realizes that the last 14 years of her life have been a lie–not only are her parents alive: they are the king and queen of Ceshela. Suddenly this teenager goes from an orphan to a princess who is next in line for the throne.
Elizabeth begrudgingly returns to Ceshela with little awareness of the dangers that are stalking her, and is quickly swept up in a world she never dreamed of. This world happens to include an overbearing captain of the guard named Nicholas who annoys her however possible.
Will the Princess of Ceshela find her place in her new kingdom, or is she doomed to a life of duty with no true happiness?
What I Enjoyed:
Introverted readers rejoice: we now have a realistic introverted princess! Elizabeth is cool, shows a quiet confidence, and regularly seeks solitude. I’m kind of obsessed with this because being royalty often have to play the extrovert game and be at all the parties and be super talkative and social. Elizabeth is an introvert through and through; this didn’t change because she went from a village girl to a princess.
I also loved the whole cast. You’ll notice from the cover that Elizabeth is black; her whole family is black and other characters, like Nicholas, are black, too. I’m not sure how many novels about European-style royalty include so many characters of color without making a huge deal out of it. The other characters don’t find it weird and they live in a world where this is perfectly acceptable. I’m not sure if Mitchell intended anything further with this, but she doesn’t use white skin as the default color and doesn’t pretend there is anything wildly special about skin color. Thus, we see black characters lead happy and interesting lives that don’t involve racial hardship and strife—something that I think would be beneficial for young readers.
This novel also covers certain wrinkles that I don’t see in other novels. When Elizabeth learns she’s a princess, she isn’t worried as much about adopting a new lifestyle; if anything, she’s re-learning how to interact with her “new” parents. She was raised by her aunt and uncle and then suddenly realized her parents are actually alive and well. So rather than glossing over this, Mitchell shows this character arc throughout the novel, giving us opportunities to see Elizabeth get to know her parents.
What I Didn’t Enjoy:
I think the only major complaint I had was when the two POVs overlap. We get Elizabeth’s POV in first person and Nicholas’s POV in third-person, so it’s cute and fun to see what they think of each other throughout the novel. However, some scenes felt overly drawn out and overlapped because we got Elizabeth’s take and then a recap of the same scene from Nicholas. It took a bit of the mystery away of how they felt, too. I tend to prefer romances/relationships where you know where one character stands and you need to see the story until the end to learn if the other character has similar feelings.
My Final Thoughts
This novel is very family-friendly; not just the language or the content, but this book is full of happy, healthy families. Elizabeth and Nicholas both have extended family that we get to meet. You can tell that family is very important throughout this novel and I found this heart-warming and refreshing. Even though I know not every family is perfect, it’s nice to show characters who know, love, and interact with extended family and how they benefit from that.
I hope I shared enough to still pique your curiosity without giving too much away. If you’d like to learn more about Teralyn Mitchell and her work, you can catch up with her via social media:
Have you read this novel? Share with me in the comments! You can also see all of my other book reviews by checking our the Book Reviews tab.