The Wolf Princess

The Wolf Princess

4.1 14
by Cathryn Constable
     
 

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A captivating, atmospheric mystery set in the crystalline winterland of Russia.

Abandoned in a blinding blizzard in the wintry wilds of Russia, Sophie Smith fears for her life. But just like in a fairy tale, a princess comes to her rescue: the beautiful, exotic Anna Volkonskaya. Over a river of ice in a horse-drawn sleigh, she brings Sophie and her friends

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Overview


A captivating, atmospheric mystery set in the crystalline winterland of Russia.

Abandoned in a blinding blizzard in the wintry wilds of Russia, Sophie Smith fears for her life. But just like in a fairy tale, a princess comes to her rescue: the beautiful, exotic Anna Volkonskaya. Over a river of ice in a horse-drawn sleigh, she brings Sophie and her friends to a magnificent, if weathered, winter palace.

At first, Sophie is enchanted by Princess Anna's stories of long-ago royalty, of white wolves and gray diamonds. But when the princess takes a particular interest in her, Sophie grows concerned. What is her place in the sinister mystery that surrounds her? Even as the wind and wolves howl outside, is she more in danger now, a prisoner of the palace, than she ever was lost in the snow?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/30/2013
Constable's fantasy debut depicts a fiercely romantic Russia, "a world made out of winter." Sophie Smith is a bored student and neglected orphan who attends the New Bloomsbury College for Young Ladies in England. Perpetually self-conscious about her impoverished roots and low social standing, Sophie is baffled when a wealthy and mysterious visitor from St. Petersburg is drawn to her, whisking Sophie (and her two friends) away on a trip to Russia—ostensibly to draw new students to enroll at New Bloomsbury. But the girls are abandoned at a hut in the Russian countryside and saved by Princess Anna Feodorovna Volkonskaya, who invites them to her winter palace where there are far more questions than answers. Why aren't they allowed to speak to the servants? What are the princess's motives for lavishing Sophie with attention? And, most importantly, are they guests or hostages? Constable's lyrical storytelling creates a hypnotic realm of ice, and from this mythical setting emerges a message about rising above one's circumstances and discovering a sense of belonging. Ages 10–14. Agent: Hilary Delamere, the Agency (U.K.). (Sept.)
From the Publisher

Praise for The Wolf Princess :

"A very special debut with a spellbinding fairytale ambiance. Contemporary but deliciously nostalgic..." -- The Bookseller UK

"Constable's passion for Russia comes across vividly; she knows you have only to give reality a slight push to make it marvelous. A classic winter's tale." -- The Financial Times

"Adventure, mystery, a touch of romance; elements of fairy tale, good triumphing over bad; best friends; a gorgeous horse -- and wolves to boot. Timeless." -- Books for Keeps

“Lyrical storytelling.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Breathtaking…Readers can practically hear the howling winds, the cry of the wolves, and the silent beauty of moonlit snowfall.”—School Library Journal

VOYA - Caitlin Augusta
Orphan Sophie Smith pines for a fairy tale adventure, but the New Bloomsbury College for Young Ladies provides only hand-me-down sweaters from the lost and found and the friendship of her roommates, Delphine and Marianne. Sophie receives her heart's desire when the school sends Sophie and her friends on a class trip to St. Petersburg, Russia. Through a mysterious series of events, the girls end up alone at the Volkonsky Winter Palace, the rundown, deserted home of the Volkonsky royal line. The remaining descendant of the Volkonskys, Princess Anna Feodorvna Volkonskaya, welcomes the girls as her guests but seems to have ulterior motives for her hospitality. Princess Anna's quest for the lost Volkonsky diamonds may help Sophie connect with her own past. In Constable's first novel, readers meet a heroine who shares their own desire for a life less ordinary. Sophie's journey from downtrodden orphan to Russian palace dweller will please romantics. Atmospheric details of bundling up for Russian winter and lavish imperial furnishings add to the opulent setting. Unfortunately, the author telegraphs the plot twists early in the story. Readers will quickly figure out the facts that Sophie blindly ignores, and the story loses some drama because of it. Constable does not fully develop her secondary characters. She does not spend enough time fleshing out Sophie's companions, and it is hard to fully understand their motivations. Constable's exotic Russian setting and a dramatic chase scene help rescue Sophie's lackluster companions. Reviewer: Caitlin Augusta
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
Have you ever met a princess? In this story cloaked in fairy tale imagery and magical illusions, Sophie travels to Russia from her boarding school in London. Sophie’s parents have died—and she knows very little about her past. She lives with a guardian, Rosemary, who has little interest in the girl. Then one day Sophie has the opportunity to travel to St. Petersburg, only to end up trapped in a snowy land far away from the old capital city. Sophie meets Princess Anna, who enchants people with her beauty. But something is very wrong at the palace, which is quickly falling into the snow drifts and there is no money for repairs. Sophie begins to feel a strong connection to the first wolf princess who ever lived here. Could Sophie be a descendant of this princess? Young readers will be enchanted by this magical story, which reads like a suspenseful fairy tale. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.; Ages 10 to 14.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
An uneasy mix of school story, adventure and fairy-tale tropes, this British import hits all the expected notes--orphaned heroine, exotic setting, hidden treasure, unknown heritage and exciting events--but never quite manages to produce an engaging composition. Heroine Sophie Smith is only slightly more fleshed-out than her friends, Delphine (part French, very stylish) and Marianne (the smart one who, of course, is not stylish and wears glasses). Orphaned at a young age, Sophie spends the majority of her time at boarding school. With only vague memories of her father, Sophie treasures the necklace he left her and hears his voice in her dreams. When the chance to visit Russia, a country that has always fascinated her, on a school trip arises unexpectedly, Sophie jumps on it. Diverted from the school's itinerary, the three girls wind up in an isolated, dilapidated castle complete with hidden passages, loyal retainers and a real, live princess. Readers will realize much sooner than Sophie that all is not what it seems and will surely wonder at the naïveté of contemporary kids who willingly go off with a complete stranger. The uneven plot drags before taking a sharp turn into melodramatic violence. Unfortunately for readers who persevere, the ending is ultimately both unbelievable and essentially unresolved. Considerably less than the sum of its parts, this mash-up won't satisfy fans of fantasy or realistic fiction. (Adventure. 9-12)
School Library Journal
11/01/2013
Gr 5–8—Next to fashionable Delphine and bookish Marianne, English orphan Sophie is easy to overlook. Her clothes are worn and drab, her guardian doesn't want to deal with her, and her school's headmistress is constantly on her case. But on a school trip to St. Petersburg, the girls find themselves abruptly abandoned in a snowy wonderland. Soon, they meet a beautiful and mysterious princess who seems especially taken with Sophie. Swept away to her icy palace, the three are pampered and entertained until they begin to suspect that the princess has ulterior motives. The breathtaking, wintry setting brings this old-fashioned fairy tale to life. Readers can practically hear the howling winds, the cry of the wolves, and the silent beauty of moonlit snowfall. The story moves slowly at times, but patient readers will enjoy the Russian history and wonder what Princess Anna is hiding. Savvy readers will likely guess Sophie's true identity long before Sophie does, but the predictable plot doesn't detract from the story. The Wolf Princess will appeal most to strong female readers looking to curl up with a dark tale on a cold, wintry night.—Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545528399
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
09/24/2013
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
542,574
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile:
650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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