Book Review: The Stolen Princess
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Hey, everybody! I’m super excited about a couple of upcoming blog posts. My friend, Katherine Wilson, has graciously agreed to let me review her wonderful first novel, and then interview her in a separate post. Today will be the introduction and book review, but don’t miss the upcoming interview!
Katherine Wilson is the author of the Maidens of Malidone series, and is the daughter of Todd Wilson, founder of Familyman Ministries, a super cool homeschooling company. A couple of years ago, I was blessed to meet Katherine at a homeschool convention. At that time, I was thirteen and just beginning to write my novel, Sunrise. It was surreal for me to see Katherine there, selling her first novel, The Stolen Princess. I couldn’t comprehend what it felt like to publish a novel like that or even finish it, for that matter. There’s something written in my journal about her, which isn’t a surprise considering I journal anywhere from 1-10 pages daily. What I wrote was along the lines of this:
I met a girl who’s 16 and has written a book. Written a book!? She’s only 16 and she’s written a really cool-looking novel. Once I get my book past chapter 3, could I end up where she is?
Kat (as she likes to be called) was gracious and friendly. I really enjoyed meeting her and bought her novel. Looking back, I would say that it was God’s leading for me to buy the book and read it. Had I not purchased the book, I think my writing story would be a little different. To elaborate, I may or may not have even finished Sunrise, because Kat influenced me that tremendously.
I read The Stolen Princess and loved it! It’s been through some adventures, including the time when I let a friend borrow it and didn’t get it back for a while. I think it ended up in my grandma’s basement at some point, which admittedly can be a scary place. But The Stolen Princess made it! So, now, I’ve got some thoughts to share with you about this wholesome, lovely novel.
Katherine Wilson wrote a masterpiece when she wrote The Stolen Princess. Her writing is superb, with eye-opening descriptions, killer vocabulary, and better usage and grammar than some adults I know, much less sixteen-year-olds! The book is set in a medieval time period, and is packed with good morals and great storytelling. There’s a damsel in distress, a handsome rescuer, and an evil overlord. At the heart of the story, you’ll find the true meaning of good vs. evil, and how God uses suffering to draw His people closer to Him.
To begin, I must introduce the heroine. Her name is Rose. She’s just a seven-year-old princess learning how life works when she’s captured by the evil Lord Malcolm, hence the name The Stolen Princess. For nine long years, she and hundreds of other captives endure the cruelty Malcolm places on them day by day. Yet through terrible circumstances, Rose looks at the pain Lord Malcolm brings and chooses to trust her Lord Jesus’ purpose through it all. Her heart believes that one day, she will be rescued. In the meantime, though, she’s willing to stick to the sure foundation that was laid for her as a child: that Jesus is the most important Person in her life, and when she is afraid, He is the One to turn to.
Rose’s trying and monotonous days begin to change when a sweet little girl named Elly arrives as another bedraggled captive. She, too, has a love for Jesus that will not be quenched. Because of this, Rose immediately makes friends with her. The two become inseparable, and love each other like sisters. I love the examples of healthy relationships found in this book.
As time goes on, Rose has many horrible experiences involving a fever, a cruel mistress, and malnutrition. 🙁 Rose’s responses to this aren’t perfect, which I appreciate. This damsel in distress has tangible doubts, fears, and questions like the rest of us. In spite of all that, though, Rose comes out of it all still calling the name of Jesus. However, the story takes a twist when Ian, a mysterious guard, shows up and seems to act a little differently than all the other captives. With perfect timing, Ian rescues Rose one rainy night and brings her back to Malidone, her home.
Malidone is a wonderful place for Rose to be, yet her heart longs to free Elly and the rest of the captives. While she heals from her miraculous – though violent – escape, Rose is faced with painful memories from her captivity. As a reader, I got to explore just how deep Rose’s trust in the Lord was rooted, and then evaluate my own heart. Only the best novels make a reader do this.
I refuse to give away the ending for you, but I will quote one line that makes the whole book worth reading:
“God had used Malcolm’s cruelty to draw His people to Himself.”
Rose is the one thinking this, and it makes such an impression on me to have even a fictional character display such a positive message. In this day and age, books are often no different from the morally deficient music, movies, and media our culture deems acceptable. Good fiction is scarce, but when it is found, it is cherished and it makes a difference. Katherine Wilson has written this kind of fiction, and it’s not something to be taken lightly. It’s clear to me that she sought the Lord while writing this book, and I eagerly anticipate anything else she will write.