My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the Author:
Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett (24 November 1849 – 29 October 1924) was a British-born American novelist and playwright. She is best known for the three children’s novels Little Lord Fauntleroy (published in 1885–1886), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1911).
Publication Year: 1905
If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.
The story of ‘Princess Sarah’ will always stay close to my heart. I have so many fond memories of watching the anime with my brother on TV when we were younger (back when people still watched TV!). We were so invested in it and we’d eagerly wait for the next episode every day. Its theme song is still burned in the back of my mind. I’m so glad I finally read this classic! Reading this book was like taking a trip down the memory lane and re-experiencing those emotions all over again.
Set in the Victorian Era, this story is about a beautiful young Sara(h) whose mother dies when she’s young and she’s raised by her loving and rich father in India. In order to give her a good education, he brings her to London and enrolls her in Miss Minchin’s Seminary. Everyone is fascinated with her and calls her ‘Princess Sarah’ but Miss Minchin takes an instant dislike to her. Due to an unfortunate incident, she loses her father and is left penniless. Miss Minchin takes away everything she owns and forces her to become a servant.
The writing in this novel is very appealing. It has a childlike innocence and feel to it, along with the tendency to be bluntly honest which aligns perfectly with our main character Sarah. I mostly loved all the characters and hated Miss Minchin with an enormous passion! The writing made me nostalgic about my own childhood. I went through so many emotions while reading the book. You love Sarah, feel sad for her, cheer for her, pray for her. This book was so amazing!
The best thing about this book is the character of Sarah. She’s a peculiar child and she’s an embodiment of so many endearing qualities. She’s quiet, polite, well-mannered, smart, kind, strong, brave, hardworking, empathetic, self-aware and an ‘old soul’.
Perhaps I have not really a good temper at all, but if you have everything you want and everyone is kind to you, how can you help but be good-tempered?
She treats people equally and helps them when they’re in need. Initially, she has everything she could ever want but she’s not spoiled and haughty. She loves reading books and inventing little stories and telling them to others. Even though Sarah has all these qualities, she’s not perfect. She loses her temper, she doesn’t like some people and she’s not afraid to stand up for someone who’s treated unfairly. This made Sarah a realistic character.
Everyone is fascinated with her charming personality except Miss Minchin who hates her. Despite Miss Minchin’s attempts to put down Sarah and show put her in her rightful place, she’s not able to break Sarah’s spirit. Even when Sarah loses everything and everyone treats her badly, she never ceases to be a princess.
If Nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that—warm things, kind things, sweet things—help and comfort and laughter—and sometimes gay, kind laughter is the best help of all.
The book ends with a great message that all things (good and bad) must come to an end and if you stay true to yourself and don’t lose hope, you’ll get rewarded in the end. Sarah is a perfect role model. Even though I loved this book, I enjoyed the anime version more as it has some interesting addition of different characters and situations, and the struggles of Sarah are portrayed in much more detail which creates more emotional conflict.
To sum it all up, this was a beautiful book with a good message and I recommend it to anyone who loves a nice classic.