Kaiulani: The People’s Princess by Ellen Emerson White

Kaiulani; The People's Princess by Ellen Emerson White(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

May 6, 1889

At Iolani Palace, Father and I met with Papa Moi and Mama Moi in the throne room.  Papa Moi was solemn, as he reminded me that it will be my responsibility to do as well as possible, and in that way, further the hopes of our nation.  I was glad that I have never admitted to him how fearful I am about leaving.  I think he would find that petty, as I go off not for myself, but for all of the Hawaiians I will someday lead.

“I will not fail, Papa, will I?”  I asked Father, once we were on the way back to Ainahau.

“It is not even as possiblility,” he said, his voice full of confidence.

I wish that I could feel that same confidence.

After reading The People’s Princess, Kaiulani has definitely joined the ranks of my favourite women in The Royal Diaries.  She’s strong, smart and actually has situational awareness, something many other princesses in the series seem to lack.  Not only that, but there are actually reasons for Ellen Emerson White’s decision to make the narrative cover 4 years.  Covering 4 years in a little over 200 pages is difficult, but the novel never jumps around and you know what is going on.

Kaiulani is an incredible character who fights in whatever ways she knows how in order to keep her country from being annexed by the United States.  Of course with the hindsight of history we know that she fails, but her trip to the U.S. to convince the Americans otherwise is fascinating.  The way she writes in her diary is very different than the way she presents herself to the public, which is another surprising bonus in tween fiction.  Kaiulani is mature and completely aware of her position, making this an interesting read, to say the least.

I wouldn’t call the plot fast-paced, but it’s certainly not boring either.  Once again, I can’t exactly vouch for the historical accuracy of The People’s Princess (especially since I didn’t even know her name before I started the book), but it certainly feels like Ellen Emerson White did more than her fair share of research.  According to the Historical Note, she didn’t change much, so I’m assuming everything’s accurate as it can be.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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