Published by Penguin on November 2nd 2017
Genres: Boarding School, Princesses
Format: Audiobook, Ebook, Hardback
When fairy tale obsessed Lottie Pumpkin starts at the infamous Rosewood Hall, she is not expecting to share a room with the Crown Princess of Maradova, Ellie Wolf. Due to a series of lies and coincidences, 14-year-old Lottie finds herself pretending to be the princess so that Ellie can live a more normal teenage life.
Lottie is thrust into the real world of royalty - a world filled with secrets, intrigue and betrayal. She must do everything she can to help Ellie keep her secret, but with school, the looming Maradovian ball and the mysterious new boy Jamie, she'll soon discover that reality doesn't always have the happily ever after you'd expect...
A thrilling world of parties, politics and bad ass princesses, this is the first book in the brand new series THE ROSEWOOD CHRONICLES.
In December my grandma died very suddenly. It was about a week or so before Christmas. To put it lightly, I was pretty devastated.
My grandparents house is about three hours away. My dad traveled down there as soon as he could. My mum still had to go to work. So that just left me and my dog alone in the house for days. It was a lot of time for thinking. After a few days, I tried to pull myself together a bit and think of ways to cope. Walking the dog for a few hours a day seemed like an optimum escape, but how to distract my thoughts in that time?
I needed an audiobook. I scanned through the ones I already had downloaded, trying to decide what story I needed. I wanted something positive, bright and lively. It’s a random whim I know, but I wanted Ouran High School Host Club in audiobook form. The closest match I could find was Connie Glynn’s Undercover Princess, read by the author herself (side note: I ADORED the audiobook. I highly recommend letting Connie read to you. It is very soothing!).
I am so glad this was the book I picked. This book was such a comforting read for me. The story is set at a boarding school with school house politics, undercover royalty, secret bodyguards and plots galore.
The heart of the novel is our protagonist, Lottie. Lottie is such a lovable and kind character. The novel opens with her preparing to attend Rosewood Hall, a prestigious school she has worked super hard to attend on a scholarship in honour of her mother who passed away when she was younger. I love how Lottie’s mother is still a prominent part of her life in a positive way. She has transformed her grief into a force for good. Lottie continuously repeats her mantra of ‘Be kind, be brave and be unstoppable’ and sticks by it throughout the novel. On a personal level, this phrase was something I needed to hear at the time I was reading this book and it did help me feel stronger.
Lottie may not have been born a princess but her optimism, loyalty and kindness is everything you could ask for from someone with Disney princess calibre of spirit.
There is a massive misunderstanding at the start of the novel, a bit like Haruhi mistaken for a boy in the first episode of Ouran High School Host Club, which sets off a chain of events that impacts the rest of the novel, and surely the rest of the series, in a comedic and dramatic way.
To go back to the Ouran High School Host Club reference for a few seconds, I don’t think I can emphasize enough how much this book was a perfect fit for me as a fan of that series. We’ve got such colourful side characters here, including twins that are heirs to a sweet business and an array of other cheerfully (and in some cases snobbishly
(there’s always a villain, right?)) privileged young people. Their life experiences contrast with Lottie’s more down to earth upbringing. A little bit like the charmingly naive way Tamaki refers to Haruhi as a commoner and the hosts end up having class based culture clashes with Haruhi. One tonal difference with Lottie however is, though very passionate about her studies, she is markedly less serious than Haruhi. Lottie’s cheerfulness bubbles off the page. So it’s different but these two fictional worlds do compliment each other well if you’re looking for some comparators for this book.
One particular difference and strength Undercover Princess has over Ouran though is in the world of prevailing strong female friendships. Lottie co-protagonist is the wonderfully contrasting Ellie Wolf. Ellie is mysterious at the beginning of the novel and brings a lot of secrets with her to Rosewood Hall. As Lottie’s roommate they begin the school year on bad terms because Ellie is everything Lottie isn’t: messy and rebellious. But their temperament clashes transform into complementary features, like the moon to the sun. As the girls get closer they become fearlessly loyal to each other and I loved every minute of their growing friendship. In this aspect the book has a bit of a tinge of Revolutionary Girl Utena– particularly when Ellie gets a chance to show of her brilliant fencing skills.
There’s a lot to enjoy in this book and I am super looking forward to the sequel. It was the lightness and happy place I needed when I felt at my lowest emotionally and I still think of it now a few months after reading it with great fondness.
I even tweeted Connie about how helpful her book was and she was just as lovely as Lottie about it. If I’m being fully transparent I’m a big fan of Connie’s youtube channel anyway, and have been for a few years. I can’t wait to see how Connie develops her writing career from here.
I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother and what a tough time you must be going through right now but i'm glad my story can provide you any comfort. Be brave <3— Connie Glynn (@noodlerella) December 18, 2017
The sequel to Undercover Princess will be coming out later this year, so I recommend giving this book a read now so you’re ready for the next instalment ✨
Remember to be kind, be brave and be unstoppable, and I will see you in my next post.