You know, it's called fantasy literature for a reason. And let's
face it...you do it too. Everyone does, and maybe adopted children
do it more than anyone else. What if your parents weren't your
parents, what if your homeland wasn't your homeland, what if you
were born to be a princess ruling a far away land somewhere in your
imagination? You need not have spent a lot of your life trying to
get through wardrobes to get to Narnia --- or down rabbit holes to
get to Wonderland, or pick your fantasy of choice --- to understand
the appeal of A PRINCESS OF ROUMANIA.
The real world in which we live (unless you're reading this on a
broadband hookup from Oz) can be a dark, difficult and dangerous
place. Although fantasy worlds can be dark and difficult at times,
they're largely meant to be escapist and fun. What author Paul Park
has done in A PRINCESS OF ROUMANIA is to make things in the
alternate fantasy world darker, more dangerous, and much less fun
--- to the point where characters in the fantasy world tend to see
our reality as their fantasy.
In the fantasy world of A PRINCESS OF ROUMANIA, the sixteenth
century isn't dead, or else it has been going on for a very long
time. America is still a trackless wilderness, populated by its
native people and a few brave English and Dutch colonists. The
kingdom of Roumania is under the thumb of its German occupiers.
Meanwhile, the disinherited Baroness Ceausescu --- once the leading
lady of the stage, now the penniless widow of an alchemist ---
plots her return to power. And the way to get power is to gain
control over the rightful heiress to the throne.
Meanwhile, the rightful heiress to the throne is in high school in
the Massachusetts that you and I know, hanging out with friends,
exploring the woods around her home, and, from time to time,
looking at the mysterious artifacts she has had all her life.