Amy Monarch is a tireless volunteer at the Dupont Rescue and Recovery Center, an establishment for the destitute founded by her mother. There, Amy has kept her identity a carefully guarded secret. She is actually Princess Amelia Marguerite Louise DeLaGrande of Remeth. Working at Dupont offers the opportunity to serve in blessed disguise.
Fresh into a promising career in commercial real estate brokerage, Patrick Sawyer returns to the picturesque isle of Remeth intending to reconnect with his collegiate study abroad friends and figure out ‘what’s next’ in his life. Since his father’s passing, the world he knows leaves him uninspired. He volunteers at Dupont during his visit, and becomes enchanted by Amy.
But Amelia is trapped within a silken web. When she reveals who she is, Patrick pulls back. He’s not interested in royalty—at all—but how can she ever break free? How can she find a way to service and God’s plan for her life? Most of all, how can she reconcile the call she feels toward a remarkable man who may be ‘common,’ yet is ‘uncommon’ when it comes to matters of the heart?
Today was one of those days when Amy Monarch cursed the advent of twenty-four-hour television news. In mere seconds—the moment of time it took for a sweet, impressionable girl of five to look up and catch an image on the television screen—Amy’s day was upended.
Her chest pulled tight, and her pulse thumped and pushed as she locked a smile into place and joined Jackie Arnauld—one of her favorite guests at the Dupont Rescue and Recovery Center. The five-year-old initiated conversation by pointing at the small flat screen suspended in a corner of the facility’s main gathering room. Jackie sat at one of the large, low-slung tables designed for kids, her coloring book and crayons now forgotten. “She’s always so sparkly and pretty. I wonder what it would be like…to be a princess like her.”
Her was Amelia Marguerite Louise DeLaGrande, the princess of Remeth. Amy’s smile faltered as she studied the on-screen image of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman who commanded the podium at a press conference recently held in an opulent Parisian embassy. Centered on screen, Princess Amelia extolled the virtues of volunteer service and community activism that was part of the platform of her visit to the French capital earlier in the week.
“Cultural change begins with individual activism. Cultural change begins small and spreads to encompass the home, the neighborhood, the city, and before long, an entire country…”
The remainder of that hopeful sound-bite faded from Amy’s notice as she knelt next to the child-sized chair Jackie occupied. She pushed a thick wave of brunette hair across her shoulder and focused intently on her companion. “No one’s life is perfect, sweetheart. Not even hers. You can trust me on that.”
Careful of being too vehement, the words crept in on a ripple of caution. Children were perceptive.
Jackie’s chin trembled, and Amy’s steadfast resolve shattered. Head hung, the child’s large brown eyes glittered, cresting with tears. “Any life is better than mine. Especially hers.” Sniffling, returning to her watch of the television, Jackie swiped her runny nose with the back of her hand. “She gets to go anywhere she wants in the whole world. She gets to meet the coolest people.” Enthusiastically, Jackie delineated a list of A-list celebs. “She has diamonds. Gowns. And crowns. Oh, I’d love to have a crown like hers. Look at that one.”
Amy followed the angle of Jackie’s pointing finger. On TV spun a montage of the princess’s arrival at a fundraising gala. Camera flashes exploded, transforming the ink-black night with strobes as she stepped from the confines of a black limousine. This time she wore a long, shimmering dress of gold that swept a fluid line against her figure. Framed by the Arc de Triomphe in the distance, her glamour enflamed the crowd to a frenzy; her smile dazzled. A delicate diamond tiara adorned the upswept curls of her hair. On screen, Princess Amelia paused to greet individual members of the military who lined an outside stairwell.
Amy’s heart lurched; pain seeped into her spirit via cracks and crevices that threatened to give way.
Meanwhile, Jackie’s tears dried while she lost herself in a luxurious world of royalty all over again. Amy bit down a futile curse, swallowing aggravation behind a steady smile and the tender glide of her fingertips against the abundance of Jackie’s curly brown hair.
“Your life is going to be amazing.” Amy did her best to assure. “You and your mom are working hard and moving forward. Together. You’re going to be just fine. Keep pushing, OK? You’re not a princess by title, but you’re just as much a member of royalty as she is.”
Jackie rested her head against Amy’s shoulder for a few seconds, comforted, but obviously not entirely convinced. “Thank you, Miss Amy.” The words were a heartfelt whisper. “You’re the nicest. You’re always so good to me and my mommy.” In an instant, Jackie’s tired posture evaporated. She straightened and focused intently while a final display of the “Princess in Paris” moved across the television screen.
Amy tasted the child’s longing; catching its flavor, she experienced a sharp pierce to the heart. This small innocent and her mom were desperate, poised on the edge of a precipice teetering between hope and despair. Yet they soldiered on. That was true heroism.
The Dupont Rescue and Recovery Center worked many miracles in an effort to push matters toward hope and Christ-centered ministry. Founded by Queen Phillimina of Remeth, Dupont acted as a help center located at the heart of city’s capital, Etiria, which formed the hub of a busy, tourist-driven business district. Within the sheltering walls of Dupont, people found sanctuary as they recovered from home or job loss, abuse, addiction, mental illness or any number of circumstances that led to indigence. The Isle of Remeth was so breathtaking, outsiders might easily believe every square meter of its lavish expanse was burnished by the gold-dust of luxury. Truth told a different story. Nestled within the cobalt waters of the Mediterranean not far from the coastline of France lived people who struggled to find even the most basic comforts. At Dupont, counselors worked with the displaced and disenfranchised, doing their best to help them beat overwhelming odds.
Amy had been a volunteer at Dupont for close to six months now, and no other work in her life had been as fulfilling. Turning twenty-five had set her on a precipice of her own, igniting an unquenchable, unyielding fire to either serve people one-to-one, or surrender to a life lived from afar, with nothing of deepest meaning to show for that calling.
Despite a present bout of heartache for Jackie’s circumstances, this moment affirmed Amy’s decision and kept her focused on one all-important goal: Service. One-to-one service.
Question 1: The theme of The Fairytale centers on finding your own path in life, no matter what the outward circumstances. When have decisions you've made been affected by outward circumstances?
Question 2: In what way did you surrender to, or overcome, those challenges?
Question 3: Amelia and Patrick are forced to contend with a rabid media reaction when her identity and their relationship come to light. How do you feel about modern culture's 'thirst to know' when it comes to celebrities?
Question 4: Duty versus love. Obligation versus passion. Discuss the idea of being true to who you are, and the gifts/call you receive from God.
Question 5: During the course of the story, Patrick and Amelia have to come to terms with the illusion of perfection that comes with royalty. Discuss the topic on your own terms.
Question 6: Patrick responds to the death of his father, and thoughts of a new life pattern by centering himself in prayer and by visiting his childhood friends. Have you have ever confronted such life-changing issues? Discuss and consider how God moved through the circumstances.