Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Kristina: The Girl King, Sweden 1638

Kristina: The Girl King, Sweden 1638

Carolyn Meyer
Historical Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Scholastic, 2003   ISBN: 978-0439249768

Kristina was born a girl who was destined to become not a queen, but a king. The daughter of Gustave II Adolf King of Sweden, Kristina was a very different sort of princess from the start. Her father was determined that she should be taught all the manly and kingly arts as well as those that were more suitable for a female. Thus Kristina learned to fight with a sword, was very well educated, could ride extremely well, and had a strong and fierce spirit which battled to be courageous and to do the right thing.

This was made particularly hard because Kristina’s mother was very manipulative, critical, and at times downright cruel when it came to her daughter. Kristina did her best to please and yet her best never seemed to be enough. When her mother was finally removed from the position of guardian to her daughter, Kristina felt a great sense of guilty relief. Without her mother around life was far less complicated.

Being raised by advisors and her uncle and aunt, Kristina was content enough though she hated the idea of being married off and thought the idea to be ridiculous. She wished very much to be like Elizabeth I of England who never married and who was the ruler of her country on her own until her death. Kristina admires Elizabeth and wishes she could be like the great queen. Sometimes lonely, worried, and isolated, Kristina struggles to find a place for herself in the world which suits her own wishes and her personality.

Carolyn Meyer presents Kristina in a very sympathetic light which is both touching and enlightening. Here was a girl who was supposed to be all things to all people; a future king, a dutiful daughter, a prospective bride, and a good student. The reader gets a clear sense of how this young woman was pulled in many directions and how she tried very hard to please everyone in her own way.

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