Book Review: Lethargy – A Princess And The Pea Story

Lethargy – A Princess And The Pea Story, by Sonya Writes

[Note: This book has been provided by the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.]

The fourth of a series of fairy tales retold [1], this story is a straightforward story told with courtly restraint about a small set of characters. The scene is set early on when an Infante Elena, princess of Spain, is rejected for not complaining about salt in her soup to the imperious Queen Ophira, who cannot find anyone good enough for her son Nicholas, who rather meekly and lethargically lets his mother chase off all potential princesses, even if they do argue about it. Meanwhile, we are briefly introduced to the fierce Princess Penelope, who seems to be a princess of a small realm who seems disinclined to marry a prince who either drives away all the young ladies who could marry him, or is not man enough to stand up to an overwhelming and not entirely sane mother-in-law.

Of course, the two have a meet cute beyond the confines of royal courtship where Nicholas shows himself to be gallant and brave, and concerned about the well-being of princess Penelope, and where he finds out by chance about her unusual allergy to peas, which then becomes a way in which he seeks to thwart his unreasonable mother even if it does cause a great deal of discomfort due to sleepless nights for the princess. The story, of course, has its inevitable and wryly-told happy ending, once Penelope recognizes Nicholas’ behavior and the two are able to overcome the awkwardness of their beginning and end up together and raising enough kids to keep the dynasty going strong, without passing on the pea allergy (fortunately enough for all of them).

As a short story (and at 43 pages this is definitely too short to be considered a novel), this particular tale is a smart re-telling of the Princess And The Pea in a way that makes the mother-in-law and not the princess to be the unreasonable one. Indeed, as someone who suffers from my share of unusual and quirky allergies, I found the way in which the princess has to be vigilant to avoid the presence of peas to be greatly like my own vigilance against mangoes. Of course, in the modern world, this princess would simply carry around an epi-pen for convenience, or have a servant do it, but that is why these fairy tales are nearly always set in a pre-modern world where such contrivances are impossible. With its sly discussion of the insular world of monarchies [2] and the annoyances of allergies [3], this is a story that has much to offer about the difficulties of courtship and how clever people seek to overcome the barriers that are placed in their way to happiness and love by unreasonable parents. That is surely something many of its intended readers will certainly be able to relate to.

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:

[3] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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6 Responses to Book Review: Lethargy – A Princess And The Pea Story

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