Classic novel with timeless life lessons for your little princess. It begins with a very spoiled yet kind and generous young lady who has a rich and adoring father. Near the middle of the story, she looses everything and finds out her papa has died suddenly after losing his fortune in an elaborate diamond mine scheme.
She instantly shifts from being relentlessly pampered in luxury at a boarding school to becoming a servant and living in the basement of the very same boarding school.
Down to the small detail of her black, too small dress, our author helps her audience feel every detail. Being that she is an orphan as her mother died while giving birth, she is taken in by her school principal, not because she adores and loves the girl, but because of her sense of duty and obligation. She treats her worse than the wicked stepmother in Cinderella and resents her mercilessly as if our little princess had control over her horrible fate.
Her life changes with the snap of a finger, it was truly heart wrenching the shift from her life of privilege and adoration to a life of servitude and poverty. She is reduced to nothing from her previous life but an elaborately decadent doll given to her by her adoring father, whom she named Emily. However, beautifully told and described with such perfect detail.
Our heroine is not an ordinary girl of privilege, even at her most glamorous, she was still not only kind but loving to others less fortunate. It is not a Scrooge story, she did not have to fall from grace to appreciate what she had; her heart is golden from beginning to end.
The moral of the story is one which transcends generations and I believe should be read to every young girl. To understand humility, patience, kindness, hardship, loss, and most importantly; life is always changing and no one is exempt from its cruelty. One memorable moment is when she is beaten in the face, yet does not allow her oppressor to get the best of her. She calmly reminds herself that she is a princess and walks away with her dignity in tact.
While we have not finished it just yet, I am betting that the ending is a happy one as her wealthy neighbors have taken notice of her in addition to an Indian gentleman and a new character who was close to her father and feels he owes everything to his sweet little girl. Apparently, this new character convinced her father to invest in the diamond mines and thus feels he squandered his and the little girls’ fortune and is thus responsible for their fate.
While I realize this is a little advanced for my toddler to comprehend, I believe it has helped her vocabulary to read to her every night before bed. We will re-visit when she is a little older. There is a movie too but I am betting the book is far superior in detail.