Title: The Bruised Princess
Author: A.G. Marshall
Publisher: Avanell Publishing
Publication Date: April 7, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Historical
Length: 31 pages
Source: I received a free copy from the author. If you are not already familiar with The Princess and the Pea, read it for free at this link before reading this short story.
Rating: 4 Stars
A desperate girl on a stormy night…
Rachel is searching for sanctuary from her abusive father, but finds herself a guest in the castle instead. Why does everyone assume she is important, and why do they insist that she sleep on an enormous mattress tower?
Can she unravel the mystery and find a happy ending, or will she be trapped in something even worse? See for yourself in this romantic retelling of The Princess and the Pea.
The Bruised Princess is book three in the Once Upon a Short Story collection.
Discover a unique twist on your favorite fairy tales with these standalone adventures!
Content Warning: Physical and emotional abuse. I will discuss these topics in my review.
Sensitivity is a gift.
One of my favourite aspects of this short story had to do with how it handled the physical and emotional abuse that two of the characters suffered before and during the time that the readers knew them. These are serious topics that have been covered in a myriad of ways in both the fiction and non-fiction genres for good reason. What made Ms. Marshall’s approach to them unique was how much hope she held for her characters. Yes, they were going through awful experiences at the moment, but that didn’t mean their circumstances were going to remain the same forever. Things can begin to change for the better much faster than one can imagine, and there are so many kind people out there who are willing to help. These are such important messages to send to survivors, and I think it’s wonderful that the romance genre is yet another place to find it.
I would have liked to see a little more plot development in this piece. Everything happened quickly and without a lot of exposition. That worked well for the beginning and middle, but the ending felt a bit rushed to me because of it. If those last few scenes had been given more time to shine, I would have gone with a full five-star rating. Everything else about this was well done and written to appeal to both new and longtime fans of the romance and fantasy genres.
Rachel was an admirable protagonist. She was physically and emotionally bruised from her father’s mistreatment and the frightening threats of the man he was trying to force her to marry, but she never gave up her desire to find a safe place to live. Her tenacity made me smile, especially when the odds seemed more stacked against her than they ever had been before. I also appreciated the fresh perspective she brought to the traditional legend of The Princess and the Pea. She made certain aspects of it make so much more sense than they had been before.
The Bruised Princess was a heartwarming read.