Exactly what I wanted to read.
The Tin Princess by Philip Pullman
Becky Winter is a capable polyglot with a romantic streak, who finds herself swept up in political intrigue after witnessing an explosion. Suddenly the sixteen-year-old Winter is tutor and interpreter to a secret cockney princess, headed from London to a tiny nation sandwiched between Austria and Germany accompanied by a dreamy prince, gruff ambassador and his icy wife, and a dashing detective. The novel’s plot twists and turns through Razkavia’s 19th-century-Bavarian-influenced countryside. Danger, secret identities, and nefarious schemes fill its pages right up to a genuinely thrilling conclusion.
Philip Pullman can always be relied upon to deliver richly detailed, wryly funny, smart historical fiction. I picked this up at the library because I was dying to read something I’d like, and feeling slightly melancholy that The Subtle Knife will never be a movie. I didn’t realize it was a continuation of a previous series, and I got good and thoroughly spoiled on the events of that series while devouring The Tin Princess. It’s a great book: several strong female characters with distinct personalities, men worth crushing on, a richly imagined fictional country, political strategy, and plenty of derring-do. What more could a reader ask for? There are even a couple of nice, not too-soppy romances (one sweet, the other rather steamy.) The only drawbacks were that Razkavia made me miss Germany terribly, and the blurb described Adelaide as “heartbreakingly beautiful” while the book described her as “not altogether pretty.” Really, publishing industry? Men can love women who aren’t supermodels. Promise.