Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review: Violet Eyes

Title: Violet Eyes
Series: Once Upon a Time
Author: Debbie Viguié
Release Date: February 23, 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Cover Designer:
Cara E. Petrus
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Fairy tales
Summary: When a storm brings the dashing Prince Richard to her family's farm, Violet falls in love at first sight. Richard also gives Violet his heart, but he knows his marriage is destined to be an affair of state, not of passion. For the king and queen have devised a contest to determine who will win their son's hand in marriage.
To be reunited with her prince, Violet must compete against princesses from across the land. It will take all of her wits—and a little help from an unexpected source—if Violet is to demonstrate the depth of her character and become Richard's bride.

My Review:
I’ll admit that “The Princess and the Pea” was never one of my favorite fairy tales. In fact, I always thought that the whole concept was rather silly. But I ended up enjoying Debbie Viguié’s retelling.

Very much unlike the original story, Violet is not a princess, but a lowly farmer’s daughter, and a country girl through and through. However, she is determined to marry Prince Richard, so she enters the competition along with dozens of princesses to compete in a series of challenges for the honor of marrying the prince. The challenges are ridiculous things, like telling which of two single threads is silk or cotton, or walking across a lawn barefoot to see how much the princesses’ delicate feet will bleed. As Violet makes friends and enemies, she discovers that there are real challenges hidden amongst the silly ones, and she must figure them out if she wants to marry Richard. This book wasn’t completely unlike the original tale, but all I’m going to say is that Richard can only marry a “true” princess.

Despite the short length of the book, I didn’t feel that it was lacking plotwise. I also liked to see how Violet interacted with her new friends, all of whom were were well-rounded characters considering they had so little time to develop. The challenges within the challenges were strategically placed, but I still figured out most of them right away.

There was one thing that stopped me from liking the book a lot more than I did. When I read in the summary that “Violet falls in love at first sight”, I really, really hoped that line would turn out to be misleading. But it didn’t. Richard takes refuge at Violet’s family’s farm for a few days after he becomes ill from getting caught in a thunderstorm, and by the time he leaves he and Violet are declaring “undying love” for each other! (And that’s not even the cheesiest thing Richard/Violet says to Violet/Richard.) I used to be more tolerable about this sort of thing, but my standards have risen. I cannot stand insta-love at all.

Aside from the disappointing romantic aspect, I liked this little book. It was pretty much mindless entertainment, nothing special, but a great quick read.


  1. I love fairy tale retellings! I'll have to check this one out.

  2. I loved this one. I thought it was sweet.

  3. Sounds like a very sweet book! I agree with you about "love at first sight". It's a bit of a stretch for me too.


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