The A Princess of Roumania series is a Young Adult Literature series of four books by Paul Park, beginning with the release of A Princess of Roumania in 2005.
The series follows a young girl by the name of Miranda Popescu - a Romanian orphan adopted by American parents and brought to Massachusetts. Miranda has always known she was adopted and used the mystery of her birth parents as the foundation for an archetypal Changeling Fantasy - all she has of her past is an assortment of mysterious trinkets including a large history book with notes from her aunt.
Not long after returning to school, Miranda discovers quite forcibly that she was exactly right - she is a princess. When the history book is destroyed, it breaks an enchantment that had secreted Miranda away from her birth family's enemies in a constructed world - our world. Now, accompanied by her friends Peter and Andromeda, she has to stay alive long enough to save her country of Roumania.
A Princess of Roumania and the subsequent books provide examples of:
- Alternate History: The world Miranda finds herself in (and is originally from) differs from ours in several ways in terms of how the course of history played out - Roumania is an impressive empire (and still spelled that way), the colonization of America went a bit sideways, England no longer exists and the only English people left live as savages in America...
- Animal Motifs: The late Baron Ceausescu's house sigil is that of a red pig - he is, unsurprisingly, physically repulsive and noted by his wife to have been lecherous.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: There are several parties eager to capture or kill Miranda, few of whom work together - one camp has the Empress Valeria Dragonesti and General Antonescu, another has the German Elector of Ratisbon, and the Baroness Nicola Ceausescu always works towards her own ends.
- Driven to Suicide: After framing his friend Frederick Schenk von Schenk, Baron Ceausescu was driven to despair with guilt and eventually took his own life. The public is not aware of this and thinks he died of natural causes (which may have been exacerbated by Aegypta Schenk's witchcraft).
- Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: The Elector of Ratisbon has rouged lips, elaborate outfits, and literally no respect for women (or anyone but himself, but especially women).
- Generation Xerox: Subverted - at first, it seems history is repeating when Miranda has two friends and guardians in Peter and Andromeda, just like her father had Pieter de Gratz and Sasha Prochenko. Except Peter and Andromeda are de Gratz and Prochenko.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Aegypta Schenk von Schenk, Miranda's aunt, is acting towards what she believes is best for Roumania's future and her niece's well-being. Unfortunately, she's now an impoverished princess with essentially no social standing and accusations of witchcraft hanging over her head for the death of Baron Ceausescu.
- Miscarriage of Justice: In the Roumania backstory, Prince Frederick Schenk von Schenk was convicted of treason and executed because of Baron Ceausescu's false testimony.
- Named After Somebody Famous: Played With: Baroness Nicola Ceausescu, from a Doylist perspective, is obviously named after the Romanian totalitarian leader Nicolae Ceausescu. However, in-universe, our world is a safe haven designed to shelter Miranda filled with fake history - meaning the dictator Ceausescu is named after the Baroness. (Something she is not flattered by.)
- Urban Fantasy: Magic is real, referred to as 'conjuring', and illegal. It is a commonly known and accepted truth of the world that, when you die, an animal representing your soul and moral character will visibly crawl out of your mouth.