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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
The Princess Who Forgot She Was Beautiful is the first book in the five-part series of The Harry Ferguson Chronicles written by William David Ellis. It is summertime in a small town in Texas. To keep the children of the community entertained, the town librarian has asked her father to come and tell them a story. The old man, known as Hank, is a bit nervous, but agrees. Hank begins to tell his mystical fairy tale about a young boy, a princess, a talking sword, and an evil dragon. Hank is a masterful storyteller. In no time at all, he captures the hearts and imaginations of the children and the adults gathered in the library. In the crowd, there is one precocious and curious little girl who stands out among the rest. Little Sarah seems to immediately become one with the story. Hank and little Sarah connect in a peculiar way; somehow Sarah knows what’s going to happen in the story before Hank tells it. As the story unfolds, life in the small town becomes really strange. The fairy tale and the real world begin to meld, or could they be one and the same? One thing is for certain, one must beware of dragons dressed in shepherd’s clothing.
William David Ellis pens a brilliant fantasy adventure. Blending the mystical ancient past with the contemporary, telling a story within the story creates an unsurpassed element of anticipation. Ellis paints dramatic word pictures with his intelligent and broad use of the English language. Furthermore, he continues to entertain the reader with amusing touches of humor – “children really do say the darndest things.” Ellis’ portrayal of the various temperaments and behaviors of children was my utmost favorite part. His depiction is both creative and insightful – he understands kids. The clever storyteller within the narrative awakens their imagination while delicately educating his young listeners. The relationship between the storyteller and the children in the narrative is simply charming. Yet, the bond between the storyteller and little Sarah transcends time and the imagination. It is hard to wrap your head around it. As the plot action rises, the creepy eeriness does as well – something is wrong, bizarrely wrong. There are surprises, twists, and turns as the evil dragon is revealed and raises his ugly head! “There are more things we don’t know than we do know.” But nothing compares to the shocking cliffhanger ending. Well done, Mr. Ellis!