St. Clare’s School for Girls is San Francisco’s most prestigious finishing school, a place where younger generations of the rich and powerful come to train for a life of luxury. It’s also Mercy Wong’s best chance to break from the poverty of Chinatown and secure a safe, happy future for herself and her younger brother. But can a 15-year-old launderer’s daughter rise above her circumstances—especially in 1906, when nearly insurmountable racial and economic barriers stand in the way?
Whether sinking Spanish warships off the coast of the Carolinas or seeking out Confederate spies at a Washington, D.C. ball, American girls have always had adventures to tell.
So, we all know the fairy tale of the Princess and the Pea, right? She shows up at a castle late one night in the middle of a snowstorm. The prince falls in love with her beauty (evident even under the wet, bedraggled appearance), but the king and queen want to make sure she is a real princess. So, they put a single pea under a pile of 20 feather mattresses and wait to see if she notices. And, sure enough, the real princess emerges in the morning bruised and sore from the tiny pea. The prince and princess get married and live happily ever after. Except...well, did you ever think what it would be like to live with someone like that? Someone who couldn’t even stand a pea under her mattress? What about when she was hot? Disappointed? Challenged by some problem?
The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas, by Tony Wilson, takes the traditional Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale and stands it on its head. Prince Henrik doesn’t like the idea of marrying a princess who is sensitive. His brother is married to a very real, very high-maintenance princess who complains day and night about things that don’t suit her. Frankly, it’s a drag being around her, let alone married to her.
Even if you've never heard the song, "I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar)," which topped the charts in 1972 and became an anthem of sorts for the women's lib movement (oh, and won a Grammy), you will enjoy these stories featuring heroines who grapple with the big challenges and mysteries of life. Ranging from hilarious to heart-breaking, there's something for everyone.