This is the first fantasy book I remember reading (I’m not counting picture books). The story starts out in the real world with Jennifer on a bus to school, worried about the homework assignment she hasn’t finished. When the bus changes into a carriage she becomes Princess Miranda, the only living daughter of a sick king. Meanwhile the kingdom is under the command of Duke Rinaldo, who immediately strikes Jennifer as evil and cruel.
The book made such an impression on me when I read it that years (and years) later, after I’d graduated from university, I went searching for it. I found it at a used bookstore (it’s long out of print) and reread it. I was delighted to find that the book held up remarkably well.
There are harpies in the book, which was so delightful to find, especially since I love(d) Greek mythology and they're so underused in fantasy despite being interesting and horrifying creatures.
It’s a fun adventure story and a great introduction to fantasy for young readers if you can find a copy.