A Little Princess

A Little Princess - Tasha Tudor, Frances Hodgson Burnett Having been quite familiar with The Secret Garden growing up, I was a bit surprised that I was unfamiliar with other stories by Frances Hodgson Burnett, especially A Little Princess. True to the style and magic I remember so well, FHB delivers another enchanting childhood story filled with wonderfully sweet lessons about life; that were just as delightful when discovered as an adult as it would have been had I read it as a child. This book tells the story of Sara, a little black-haired girl with big green eyes, who loves to read(!!) Her father says she doesn't read, she gobbles up books. Do you love her yet? Cause I certainly did love little Sara right from the get-go. She's very solemn and has an odd classic way about her that I found incredibly endearing and quite funny when she wants to be. Sara is brought to a boarding school in London by her rich 'papa', while he must go off to work in India. Despite Sara's fortunate upbringing, she is as far from a spoiled brat as you could imagine. She is clever, bright and caring. While Sara loves and misses her 'papa' deeply once he goes away, she quickly adapts to life at Miss Minchin's Boarding School. While it's obvious that Miss Minchin's doesn't like Sara much, she treats her well enough because she knows how rich Sara's father is and that he wishes nothing but the best for his daughter. Sara's kind heart and distinctive imaginings quickly endear her to a select group of children, while alienating her from the more spoiled lot which are jealous of Sara's special treatment and popularity.

- Never did she find anything so difficult as to keep herself from losing her temper when she was suddenly disturbed while absorbed in a book.

Sara spends a little over two years in school before things take a drastic change for the worst. News comes to the school that Sara's beloved papa has died. He had gone off to work to help a dear friend and things went horribly wrong. Having lost all his money, he succumbed to illness. Sara is left with no one to care for her and no money to keep her place at the boarding school. Upon hearing the news, Miss Minchin is beyond cruel to Sara, though she allows Sara to remain at the school, she will now have to work very hard to be allowed to stay. She will run errands, and help teach the other children; while not being allowed to attend classes anymore herself. In an instant Sara's entire world is turned upside down. The true beauty of the story lies in how she manages to continue behaving like A Little Princess having lost all hope. It is a struggle to be sure especially at first, but Sara endures. Eventually, her imagination comes back to her, as does her conviction that she is truly a princess. Yes this story does indeed have a happy ending for all it's hardships and sufferings, and it is a truly wondrous ending. I literally got chills when I saw it approaching and I read the entire happy ending with a happy heart and tearful eyes.

- When you will not fly in a passion, people will know you are stronger than they are.

For anyone who has never read a Frances Hodgson Burnett book, I urge you to pick one up. She has a truly whimsical, sweet old fashioned way of writing that evokes feelings of happiness, gratitude and wonderment. Her characters are so lovable and remarkable in simple yet touching ways. Good morals and good people are promoted in a fun and innocent way but in a way that has a profound effect on readers of all ages. The prose is beautiful and touching in it's simplicity. FHB has a knack for giving voices to children. You can almost feel the innocence and whimsy flowing off the pages. But for all her whimsy, FHB also offers a stark and tragic contrast between life as a privileged child and the life of a poor child. This is not a fluffy, feel-good children's tale throughout The protagonist suffers severe hardships and must endure through most of the book. She is mistreated, overworked, abused and starved...but endure she does, and where many another child would have been broken, Sara continues to fight to maintain a rich imagination, a kind heart and a true soul of a princess. Such an worthwhile read. There are life-lessons in this book for young and old alike, but beyond that, there is a rich storyline, an inspiring child protagonist, and like any proper children's tale; a happy ending where all that was wrong is set right again. 4.5 stars

- Somehow, something always happens, just before things get to the very worst. It is as if the magic did it. If I could only just remember that always. The worst thing never quite comes.