I finally noticed this book tucked on my Kindle and realized in my haste that I had forgotten about it a few months ago. I am *so* glad I finally saw it because it was such a compelling read.
Based on the true story of Sarah, the goddaughter of Queen Victoria, the novel begins with childhood Sarah, then Aina, the daughter of an African king. Following war, she finds herself in a slave camp, worried about being sold to traders who will take her across the Atlantic.. Discovered by a British explorer, the marks on her face indicate her status as royalty and change the course of her life. She is rescued from the camp, brought to England as a "gift" to Queen Victoria, and becomes a part of noble households and education. All the while, Sarah utilizes her intelligence to thrive, while searching for a real place to call home.
This was a two night read for me, mostly because I really really had to sleep the first night. Had I not had work in the morning, I very likely would have stayed up to finish it, it was that enjoyable! Bryce does a wonderful job with the story, from Aina's tragic beginnings to her rescue to becoming Sarah. Her determination and intelligence keeps her focused on her. new life and helps her to strive for more. I especially loved reading about there experiences within the Victorian court and her friendships with the British princesses.
The cruel disregard of Sarah as an actual person has been hard to swallow. The entire time the royal family was fully embracing her as a member of their inner circle, Queen Victoria was arranging her life like that of a chess piece. I think that those who enjoy reading about undiscovered characters will enjoy this.
This was rich in detail and history but the pacing really didn’t work for me. I was drawn in from the beginning but once I hit the halfway mark I found myself losing interest.
I don’t think historical fiction should only revolve around struggle or survival but this didn’t hit like I wanted. The first few chapters were complex and intense with Sarah who at the time was Princess Aina watching the decapitation of her family, becoming enslaved, and searching for her brother who she knew survived the invasion. But once Sarah was given to Queen Victoria we see her conform with her new surroundings which is where my interest began to decline.
The narrative explores Sarah’s personal and emotional struggles as she battles racism and systematic oppression, attempts to preserve the memory of her family, and find where she belongs in society. I did enjoy Sarah’s character she was very smart and brave even from a young age. Her brilliance and various talents is what provided her the royal privilege she’d become accustomed to.
Overall, the book was okay minus the pacing. I think the writing was decent and the author did well capturing the characters life and the era in which events occurred. So, if you’re into historical fiction you might enjoy this. Special thanks to the author and @williammorrowbooks for the gifted copy!!!
A stunning historical novel of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, a true-life African princess raised as Queen Victoria’s goddaughter. From West Africa to Victorian England, Sarah struggles with racism and oppression as she seeks authentic love, home and identity. Gorgeously written, highly recommended!
THE OTHER PRINCESS – A Novel Of Queen Victoria’s Goddaughter - by Denny S. Bryce – Historical Fiction
In a word, WOW! A gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, coming-of-age story, based on true events that took place during the mid and latter part of 19th century, England, when seven-year-old, Aina, is presented to Queen Victoria as a ‘Gift’. *cringe*
‘Prologue – West Africa, 1843’
‘I didn’t plan on losing the original me, the other me, who I thoroughly believed would be lost and forgotten if not for my heirloom. It belonged to my family. I had to believe that as long as I could wear it around my neck, I was Aina, an Egbado princess, daughter of a king.’
Thank you, NetGalley and William Morrow (HarperCollins Publishers), for providing me with an eBook of THE OTHER PRINCESS at the request of an honest review.
This book really just took me for a ride. I loved the build up, the character development, and the writing. I would definitely read more from this author! I loved the amount of research that went into this and it is a topic that is widely swept under the rug.
A hard to read book but a great insight into something that is becoming forgotten history. Interesting inside view to the situation.
Historical fiction is definitely one of my favorite genres to read, and I especially love learning about a historical figure that I didn't know anything about before. The Other Princess was definitely the perfect book for this!
African Princess Aina- whose name meant born to a difficult life- definitely lived up to her name. She was captured with her family by an enemy African king and miraculously survived while the others didn't. Aina was a unique child, and was chosen by a British captain to be taken to England as a gift for Queen Victoria.
Aina became Sarah and was raised in England. Queen Victoria claimed her as a ward and Goddaughter. Because of this, Sarah had opportunities in society and with the royal family. Unfortunately for her, it also meant that decisions about her life were not her own choices to make. Even though she was a princess and friend of the royal family, Sarah faced prejudice and racism and countless other trials.
This was a wonderfully written book about a persevering woman that I am happy to have discovered in this story. Sarah travels between the continents to find a family, build a life, and figure out who she is destined to be. It is told from Sarah’s own perspective, so we are able to see the thoughts and feelings as she navigates through the trials of her life. The Other Princess covers Sarah’s life from birth to death, and I was able to learn so much about her and her experiences as an African princess and an English woman.
The Other Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria's Goddaughter" by Denny S. Bryce is a fascinating fictional tale about a little-known historical figure, Sarah Forbes Bonetta, an African princess raised in Queen Victoria's court.
The book skillfully navigates themes of racism and elitism, offering a poignant exploration of Sarah's journey from a kidnapped child to a resilient woman overcoming childhood atrocities. Bryce weaves a richly descriptive narrative, shedding light on the challenges faced by Sarah as she seeks a home, family, love, and identity in both Victorian England and West Africa.
This heartfelt novel is a testament to Sarah's strength and determination in the face of adversity, creating a compelling and uplifting read.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review! As a lover of all things royal, requesting the book was a no-brainer. A piece of historical fiction, focused on an African woman is a wonderful change of pace; I read historical fiction often but rarely do I feel represented within the book's pages. The Other Princess was a captivating read that explored colonialism, prejudice, and duty. This book provided me with a wealth of knowledge and has inspired me to do more research about Aina's life.
Before reading this novel, I had no clue that Queen Victoria had an African goddaughter/ward. The more I read, the more I wanted to know. Sarah Forbes Bonetta was born Aina, the youngest child of a Yoruba King. She watched her family get killed by a rival tribe, was taken hostage to either be sold as a slave or sacrificed. Luckily, she was spared those fates when she was given to a captain as a gift for Queen Victoria setting her on an unexpected path and an extraordinary life.
With THE OTHER PRINCESS, Denny S. Bryce plunged me into a world that was familiar but, also, unfamiliar, as viewed by a character of non-European descent who had no prior contact with Europeans. The story is amazing, Sarah Forbes Bonetta was a strong, determined woman who faced so many obstacles as an African in Britain.
The best historical novels are those that inspire you to learn more, and Bryce has done that with this novel. THE OTHER PRINCESS is well-written and will keep you enthralled from beginning to end. I hated putting it down for any reason.
Thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the novel. All opinions are my own and freely given.
#THEOTHERPRINCESS #DENNYSBRYCE #TALLPOPPYWRITER #BLOOMREADS #WILLIAMMORROW
I didn't love this book, but that was personal taste and not a reflection on the quality of the writing or storytelling - which were both excellent. If you enjoy historical fiction I recommend giving this book a try. If - like me - historical fiction can be a bit hit or miss for you - I'd suggest reading a sample first to see if the writing style connects with your reading preferences.
Denny S. Brice introduces readers to Sarah Bonetta Forbes, a real historical African princess who later becomes the goddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Readers follow Sarah’s life, from her childhood as Princess Aina to meeting Captain Forbes and traveling to England to meet the Queen into adulthood. Readers experience royal European life during the Victorian period from a uniquely adjacent position, as Sarah both belongs to this glittering world as a friend to Princess Alice and as goddaughter to the queen but is also an outsider because of her racial and ethnic background and her social class. Brice introduces readers to some of the more complicated aspects of the Victorian era, particularly around marriage, women’s education, and race relations in a post-slavery British Empire, and Brice handles these topics well, balancing Sarah’s keen awareness of these injustices with her blind spots caused by privilege and royal favor. Brice’s characters, especially Sarah (who has been historically overlooked), are fascinating, complex, vibrant, dynamic, and compelling, and the characters really drive the heart of this novel forward. The Other Princess is a fascinating, incredible, and enjoyable work of historical fiction about Sarah Bonetta Forbes, an oft-overlooked historical figure whose narrative sheds some light on the challenges of the Victorian era.
THE OTHER PRINCESS: A NOVEL OF QUEEN VICTORIA’S GODDAUGHTER by Denny S. Bryce is a captivating work of historical fiction that delves into the remarkable life of Sarah Forbes Bonetta. Born a Yoruba Princess, Bonetta faced adversity early on, losing her family and enduring captivity before a British naval captain rescued her. The novel skillfully navigates her journey from captivity to the glittering court of Queen Victoria, where she was raised in the public eye, encountering challenges, privilege, and the harsh realities of racism. Bryce's writing succeeds in bringing to life the fascinating story of Bonetta, making this novel an enlightening read.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
What I loved about this book:
1. It introduced me to a part of history that I had no previous knowledge of.
2. I enjoyed the perspective of Sarah and that the story was written from her point of view.
What I thought could be different:
1. I think the cover is featuring a "romance" theme and I didn't find it to be a romance novel.
2. The voice the novel starts in is appropriate for a child, but the voice doesn’t seem to age in a manner consistent with Sarah’s intellectual growth.
Thanks to William Morrow and Company and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my review.
A very special thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow publishing for this advance copy of The Other Princess, Denny S. Bryce's follow-up to last year's Wild Women and the Blues, one of the best historical fiction works I've read recently - this does not influence this review.
I was really excited to see approval for this one, as I was hoping lightning would strike twice, and I'm happy to report that this one is amazing - 4.5 stars. Denny S. Bryce has a fantastic way with words and character development, and I was immediately entranced with Sarah Forbes Bonetta (Princess Aina) and her journey from Africa into the hands of Queen Victoria's era. The author does such an amazing job of doing her research, which makes her works outstanding to read. One thing that sometimes gets a little dry with historical fiction works involves a lot of fact dumping, which is important to the story but gets a little hard to slog through - despite this, this one is one I'd highly recommend to any historical fiction fan.
Thank you again to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC in exchange for this honest review. The Other Princess is available now!
Thank you to William Morrow and NetGalley for the ARC. "The Other Princess" is another solid edition to William Morrow's growing number of female centric historical fiction novels. "The Other Princess" focuses on the "goddaughter" of Queen Victoria of England. Sarah Forbes Bonetta was an African princess forced from her homeland, held captive, and eventually "adopted" by British missionaries. I found this novel to be informative, but not didactic. I learned a lot about British colonialism in West Africa, but the story still moved at a solid pace. I have had my eye on Denny Bryce's other novels but now they will move up my never ending TBR.
I really enjoyed this historical fiction book. It takes the story of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, the African princess who becomes a ward of Queen Victoria, and makes it more accessible. To many people, Sarah is just a footnote in history. This book makes her come alive with her own feelings, motivations, and dreams.
I really enjoyed this look into Victorian England and Victorian Africa. I have to admit that I have never thought much about Africa in the Victorian era and this book definitely opened my eyes to this world. I highly enjoyed getting to know Sarah and her life and times.
If you enjoy historical fiction or retellings of historical events, this book is likely the perfect book for you.
I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley for
review consideration. This in no way affects my opinion of the title
nor the content of this review.
The story of Princess Sarah was wonderful. I loved reading about her life and how she dealt with her challenges. I have read many books of this time era, but had not heard of her before. This is a great opportunity to learn about an amazing woman.
A mesmerizing and well-told tale that travels from tribal African villages to Victorian England.
Aina is an African princess who witnesses the atrocities of war first hand, is imprisoned and then “rescued” and given as a “gift” to Queen Victoria.
Aina is haunted by the murders of her family and works to overcome her past and survive new challenges in a different world.
The detailed descriptions evoke all of the emotions and send you searching for the historical background of this unknown story.
This is a read that will stay with you and I definitely recommend it!
Thank you to NetGalley for the complimentary eArc in exchange for my honest opinion.