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The Ugly Princess: The Legend of the Winnowwood [Kindle Edition]

Henderson Smith
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $11.99
Kindle Price: $4.99
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Book Description

What would you give up to become beautiful?

“In the tradition of The Princess Bride (with somewhat less whimsy) and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Smith’s debut is a fairy tale in a new world…. The twists along this charming road make for an enchanting journey.” -- Kirkus Reviews

The Ugly Princess is an unusual fairytale that centers on an ugly, brave princess who teaches us the true meaning of beauty.

Princess Olive is not like most princesses. She is the last generation of Winnowwood, an enchanted people with magical powers, dominion over nature, and the ability to communicate with animals. They are a people as ugly as they are extraordinary, and Olive is one of their ugliest. Her face is covered in bumps and warts, and her own father despises her for her ugly appearance. Olive has lived most of her life confined to the castle, away from the public eye. But when war breaks out between her kingdom and its neighbor and her father is captured, Olive courageously steps up to help him despite his cruelty. In transit, she is kidnapped by a band of highwaymen led by the mysterious Black Bart, and then kidnapped again by an even greater enemy force determined to overtake the entire mainland surrounding her father’s kingdom. Will anyone come to rescue Olive? Does she have within herself what it takes to break free and save her people?

A story that teaches us that there is more to a person than meets the eye, The Ugly Princess encourages young women to look within themselves to find beauty and power, and to open their eyes to their own magic. This coming-of-age must-read is based on the multi-award-winning screenplay of the same name.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

I am an award-winning screenplay writer with a deep love of fairytales. After watching yet another movie where a beautiful, helpless princess was saved by an equally beautiful prince, I started wondering… What would happen if the princess wasn’t beautiful, but was kind, strong, and courageous? What if, instead of being saved, she was the one who saved the day? Because such a story had yet been untold, I decided to tell it myself. My debut book, The Ugly Princess, is based on the screenplay of the same name, which won numerous screenplay awards, including the Adult/Family Screenplay Competition Award in the 2001 Austin Film Festival. I dedicate my book to all the young girls who stand on the sidelines wishing they too could be beautiful, in the hopes that they will find in its pages the encouragement to open their eyes to their own magic and realize how beautiful they truly are and the power they already yield.

Product Details

  • File Size: 936 KB
  • Print Length: 233 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1492221457
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #547,700 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Fairytale for a New Generation July 8, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I received a copy of this book for free through the Goodreads FirstRead program; consequently, most of this review was also posted on Goodreads.

I finally got the chance to start this book at about 6:30 this evening. It's now 10:00, and I've finished it. It's a fast, easy, compelling read. The story is tightly-wound and moves quickly through its plot. That quickness can occasionally leave me wanting a little more depth (particularly in the vein of some thin characterizations and a few key events that passed before I could quite understand them). That said, it was a great book that I very thoroughly enjoyed. And I absolutely fell in love with Princess Olive.

(Spoiler Free) SUMMARY: The Winnowwood are a powerful race of women born with unbelievable power over the natural world -- healing and commanding animals, controlling the weather, shapeshifting... The price they pay for that magic, however, is that each time they use it, they become more and more ugly. Long ago, though, they were cursed with the choice to give up their powers to become as beautiful as they had been ugly. Our heroine, Princess Olive, is the last of the Winnowwood who has not chosen beauty over power (despite pressure from her father and transformed sister to do so).

Both Olive's powers and her appearance become crucial to the fate of her people as war approaches from both within her kingdom and from the barbarians across the sea. Can she learn to use her magic as well as her ancestors who could call down lightning to defeat any foe? Can she gain the respect and trust necessary to command those around her to save the kingdom? Can she hold onto her confidence and courage when she alone is left to protect the ones she loves?

CRITIQUE: I am a sucker for fairy-tales. I love fairy-tales.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Goodreads’ First Read program. Also, this review contains clearly marked spoilers towards the end.)

“I wondered if in the history of the world there had ever been a Princess as ugly as me? I doubted it. But was there ever a Princess in the history of the world who saved their kingdom twice from annihilation by the time they were eighteen, and I doubted that as well. I gave myself a brave smile then attached the veil to my crown and appraised myself – well, it was a beautiful dress.”

So there’s this princess named Olive, see.

But she’s also a magical creature called a Winnowwood – the last of her kind.

In addition to being troll-like in appearance, Winnowwoods can control nature, speak to animals, assume animal form, even heal their fellow earthlings. But every time a Winnowwood uses her magic to change something outside of herself – such as to heal her nonhuman friends – she becomes uglier on the outside: she sprouts a new boil or wart, for example. But to the animals she just grows more and more beautiful.

Hundreds of years ago, the lands were teeming with Winnowwoods. But a witch called Cassandra the Dragon Slayer cursed them with a knife, the Blade of Winnowwood, which tempts the Winnowwoods with physical beauty: should they use it to sever their crux (an extra joint on their pinky which is the source of their powers), they will lose their magics in exchange for youth and beauty. This is why all the Winnowwood save for Olive are gone – having long since died or succumbed to the curse. The beauty a Winnowwood will attain after “winnowing” is inversely related to how ugly she is at the time of the ceremony.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Ugly Princess by Henderson Smith is an enchanting fantasy tale with an enduring theme--Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Princess Olive is scorned by her father for choosing to embrace her legacy of magic and healing over beauty. Each loving and healing act that she performs leaves a mark upon her face...will she ever find someone willing to look beyond her damaged face and see the true beauty within....?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Jessi
Format:Kindle Edition
In one word, this book is: adorable. But a case could also be made for "empowering." This is a definite must read for young girls, which is well defined from the start in the author's dedication page. The author does a delightful job of exploring the meaning of beauty. For the ugliest people are those who sacrifice a piece of themselves the most. While the most beautiful are those that have given up their powers to help others. I can tell one of the authors main points is to illustrate that people can be seen for their deeds instead of only by their outward appearance. I think this is sweetly discovered by the main character. This main character was compelling, enduring, and relatable. How often young girls undervalue themselves and think nobody understands them or that nobody can truly love who they are inside.

This book has good characterization, especially with some of the animal characters. I was sad her grandpa never showed up again at the end. However, overall the story is extremely enjoyable for adult readers and should resonate with younger readers, especially with all the commercialized air brushed beauty they see around them in magazines, on movie screens, etc.

Were they are predictable moments? Yes. But the author also has some good surprises for you too, particularly in the last chapter. There is going to be more, and I'm so excited about it!


I think my favorite moment was when Olive becomes the prophesy. The magic was enchanting, and I liked how it tied to the early Winnowwood. But a truly character-defining moment was when Olive first saw herself after the transformation, and she wasn't impressed. She wasn't that girl. At least that's not what she saw herself as. She had never valued beauty. She never needed it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!!!
This is such a sad and loved story,this will show u something amazing, and I am just a little
Published 3 days ago by College student
4.0 out of 5 stars The story was great, I loved it
So I won this book in a giveaway a while back and only got to reading it recently. The story was great, I loved it! Read more
Published 29 days ago by Jeanette
5.0 out of 5 stars No surprises, but good book
There weren't any real surprises in this book. However, that didn't take anything away from the wonderful story to be told. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Cynthia
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love it! Such a unique story!
Published 6 months ago by ashley perez
5.0 out of 5 stars a return to fairytales
The Ugly Princess is the story of Olive, the last of the Winnowwoods, magical women who have all but disappeared, giving up their magical powers to become the beautiful women that... Read more
Published 6 months ago by mike
5.0 out of 5 stars Would like to thank the author and The group Never Too ...
Would like to thank the author and The group Never Too Old for YA & NA for gifting me this book for a honest review. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Chica loves to read
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful fairy tale with a heroine worth emulating
What a charming little tale that encourages young women to worry about more than how to get some guy. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Tara D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the author for providing me with a copy of this novel and will provide an honest review in return. Read more
Published 6 months ago by VCB
5.0 out of 5 stars A sweet and heartfelt story that brought me to tears
* I received this book in exchange for my honest review *

When I agreed to read and review this book, I did so because I thought it would be a sweet story with a good... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Raquel Costa
4.0 out of 5 stars YA Fairytale
This was a brilliant book, I really enjoyed it. It's the kind of story I would have loved to read in my younger years and I'd definitely recommend it to middle grade readers... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Charlotte
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Topic From this Discussion
Second Book? Please!
Hi Elise,

I'm so glad you enjoyed "The Ugly Princess" and yes, I am writing the sequel, which is tentatively titled, "Betrayed by Beauty." I'm hoping to have it out in November, fingers crossed.

Thanks for your support!
Aug 5, 2014 by Bobbette A. Smith |  See all 2 posts
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