Maybe it’s due to countless viewings of Disney movies, maybe it’s because of Brothers Grimm, but we can’t help dreaming about being a princess. Sure the ball gowns and tiaras are nice, but we’re all about the possibility for adventure and true love. Sophie Jordan can definitely relate. Her book Reign of Shadows is the first in a duology about a blind princess who has been kept in a tower ever since her parents were murdered. After an encounter with Fowler, a brooding archer, Luna escapes from her tower and sets off on the adventure of a lifetime. In honor of her princess protagonist, Jordan shared this list of her five favorite royal heroines.
How can anyone not adore Cordelia? In a world of bleak characters—namely back-stabbing, murderous sisters and a father who uses some seriously poor judgement that launches them into a mess of trouble—she’s the strong, honest, and loyal one. Even if her crazy family ultimately drags her down to her death, she definitely tops the list as one of my favorite royal heroines.
I read this faux-autobiography as a teenager and was mesmerized. Based on the real life figure, this depiction of Cleopatra pretty much puts her at the top of my list of badass queens. She avoids assassinations and foils traitor’s plots to usurp her throne, all while protecting her kingdom and family. Oh, and the girl isn’t afraid to fall in love with some seriously formidable and dangerous men. She’s every bit the match for the powerful guys in her life.
What’s not to love about a normal-girl-turned-princess? And by normal I mean an awkward freshman girl struggling with her… well, awkwardness. I was that freshman girl! Weren’t most of us? Only I didn’t wake up one day to learn I was a princess, more’s the pity. Mia is amusing, offbeat, and most importantly, real. She’s “every girl,” and that’s what makes her one of my favorites.
Mermaid! Princess! Need I say more? A sweet, frothy tale of a princess who kisses the wrong boy, who just might be the right boy. Oh, and that kiss? It’s a magical kiss (of course) that will bond them forever if she doesn’t get him to her underwater kingdom ASAP. Go, Princess Lily, go!
Now, I might be stretching boundaries by calling her a literary heroine, but the tale of Rapunzel has been around forever (put to print first in the early 1800s), and she has always been my favorite princess. I absolutely loved what Disney did with her story in Tangled. No surprise, she served as inspiration for my own heroine, Luna, in Reign of Shadows. The idea of a heroine being born into circumstances beyond her control (e.g. being stuck in a tower for the majority of her life!!) has all the makings for a juicy conflict readers can really sink their teeth into. Oh, and the romance of meeting a sexy, brooding boy for the first time and it being the first time she’s ever met a boy?! Gah! It’s the perfect beginning to a story.
Sophie Jordan grew up on a pecan farm in the Texas hill country, where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she’s also the New York Times bestselling author of Avon historical romances and the Firelight series. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she’s not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes and Diet cherry Coke preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-TV shows.