Although best known for The Far Pavilions, M.M. Kaye wrote prolifically throughout her life both for children and adults.
In 1980 she published The Ordinary Princess, which is the story of a princess who at her christening was bestowed the gift of ordinariness. This meant that instead of having long blond hair, perfect features and lavish ballgowns like her older sisters, she had short mousy hair, a plain face and preferred to play in scruffy clothes.
On hearing that her father had arranged for a Prince to slay a dragon and ask for her hand in marriage, the ordinary princess ditched her finery and jewels and jumped out of the nursery window. Relishing her freedom, she lived a joyful life in the woods before getting a job as fourth scullery maid in a local kitchen. Here she met an odd job boy who was also disguising his princely status, and the rest is history…
M.M. Kaye had a knack for writing for children. She twisted the standard blueprint for fairy tales and created characters that appealed to readers of all ages. Other popular children’s stories that she wrote include Willow Witches Brook (1944), Gold Gorse Common (1945) and Thistledown (1981).
These beautiful illustrations, kindly provided by Puffin Books, are also by Mollie Kaye who illustrated most of her children’s stories herself. What a talented lady.
Illustrations by M. M. Kaye from The Ordinary Princess, Puffin Books