Lawrence author’s young adult novel inspired by ‘The Princess Bride’ to take off with virtual launch

photo by: Courtesy of Macmillan Publishers, Fally Afani

Lawrence author Sarah Henning and her latest young adult fantasy, "The Princess Will Save You"

In Sarah Henning’s latest young adult fantasy, the Lawrence author inverts the trope of the damsel in distress. This time, it’s the princess rescuing her true love from the hands of captors. As her title indicates, “The Princess Will Save You.”

Henning’s novel is inspired by the 1973 novel “The Princess Bride” and the 1987 movie of the same name. Henning always loved the story (she even took the movie to the hospital 11 years ago when her son was born) but was frustrated with the character arc of the heroine, Buttercup, whom Henning described as starting out with a sense of agency but then falling into despair and nearly giving up.

In “The Princess Will Save You,” Princess Amarande of fictional Ardenia faces the challenges of a patriarchal world, but with the skill and bravery of a young woman raised to be a warrior.

Henning’s book launch will occur virtually Tuesday night through The Raven Book Store. It will take place via Crowdcast, and members of the public may register for the event by going to ravenbookstore.com/sarahhenninglaunch.

Henning said she liked writing young adult fiction because she could write strong female characters as role models for teens. She mentioned her own daughter, who is 5, and said that she wanted “to teach her to speak up about things.”

In “The Princess Will Save You,” Princess Amarande’s father mysteriously dies, and the princess is given the option to marry a stranger at the age of 16 or lose the family crown. Her true love, a stable boy named Luca, is kidnapped by a neighboring kingdom as an attempt to force the princess’s hand in choosing a husband. She then sets off on an adventure to save her love and her kingdom.

Henning’s book launch will be moderated by Amanda Sellet, another Lawrence author of young adult fiction whose first novel, “By the Book,” came out in May. Sellet described her novel as being about “a girl who sees the world through prose-colored glasses.” Henning said she was happy Sellet would be able to participate in her event, since Sellet did not get to have a launch party of her own because of the COVID-19 crisis.

photo by: Courtesy of HMH Books for Young Readers, Darci Falin

Lawrence author Amanda Sellet and the cover of her novel, “By The Book”

Participants will have the chance to win giveaways during the book launch, the authors said, including a two-pack giveaway of “By the Book” and Henning’s novel “Throw Like a Girl,” which came out in January.

Sellet said she was particularly excited to talk to Henning about the action and fight scenes in her book, as the plot of Sellet’s novel is more driven by conversations at coffee shops in a college town reminiscent of Lawrence.

Sellet is also particularly excited about a Mad Libs game she created in which participants will rewrite a kissing scene in “The Princess Will Save You” by asking participants to provide parts of speech to fill in the blanks.

The book launch will take place at 7 p.m., and copies of “The Princess Will Save You” will be available for purchase from The Raven through the virtual platform.

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