Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
When Princess Benevolence, known as Ben, loses her mother and uncle the king, to a vicious murderer and her father is missing, she immediately suspects treachery by the kingdom of Drachensbett. Her aunt Sophia, the king’s widow, makes Ben move to the castle and practice royal protocol, since Ben is now heir to the throne. Ben resents the strict behavior she has to follow, and keeps trying to rebel. Locked in a small room each night, she discovers a secret staircase to a mysterious tower, where she starts learning magic from a book left there for her. In a huge act of rebellion, she uses her few magic skills to escape from the castle by flying with a broomstick from the tower. Captured by soldiers from their neighboring country, she hides her identity and plots her escape. Back in her home in Montagne, she realizes the importance of learning to act like a princess in order to save her country and people. I loved the adventures Ben has and the many twists and turns of the plot, including the surprise ending.
Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson