The Restless Girls by Jessie Burton

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Ill. by Angela Barrett. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408886915
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Themes: Fantasy; Princesses. Twelve excellent Princesses, all with talents unique and exceptional, are plunged into a virtual prison by their father, the King, after the unfortunate death of their mother. The grief over the Queen's death unsettles the King and makes him irrational in his attempts to protect his daughters. The girls are unable to find consolation from within their imposed locked room existence . . . until they find a hidden mysterious fantasy palace where they can again know joy. This fantasy experience gives them opportunities to live life abundantly (with talking animals and food of every description) and to dance again. But the secret life they are enjoying must be kept hidden. The King though becomes suspicious! Will they be released or will the escape into their fantasy palace come to an unhappy end?
Written in the lyrical style of a classic fairy-tale, Burton has written a wonderful story that esteems the intelligence of girls and reveals their capacity to solve problems and to express their loyalty to one another. The illustrations by Barrett are delightful and reveal princesses that do not have Anglo-Saxon heritage. Published as a hard cover 'fairy-tale' book, this would make a lovely gift or also a good read-aloud book.
Highly recommended for ages 8+
Carolyn Hull