The story was about an urchin adopted by an acting troupe to pretend to be the lost princess of the city. These are the details I remember (some of the early events are a little crude; my apologies):
- I read it between 2003–2007; I can't recall the exact year. The book definitely looked new; the condition and the materials would surprise me if they were more than 5 years old. As much as I liked it, I doubt it was a republish for a much older series. It was a paperback, and in the small library it was in close proximity of the book Originator by Claire Charmichael.
- The main character's job was cleaning up horse manure in medieval type city.
- At one point a rival urchin arranges for her to have to clean up a particularly "wet" set of manure.
- There was a merchant that sometimes shared food with her, but shunned her due to the odor from the above.
- She purchases and overuses cheap perfume to cover this smell so she can enter a theater. While watching a play the overpowering odor chokes the other guests, and they eject her.
- She was in the theater because she dreamed of (or at least admired) actors.
- The main male character is a principal member of an acting troupe. She meets him after kicking a stone which scuffed his black leather boots.
- A sheriff/warden/steward ran the city in the place of a missing royal family.
- The acting troupe wants the main character to pretend to be the lost princess, because of her looks.
- It is ambiguous if she actually was the true heir. At the end she answers a direct question about her identity with, "I am an actor," or something similar.
- The troupe leaves the city with her, and she is happy this way.
- This book was one of a series. There may have been a variety of authors. Each was set in the same city but with a different main character and events.
- I recall one had the main character enter a futuristic area at the end. The writing described the place from his unfamiliar perspective. He smashed what he didn't recognise as a monitor to free his friend "trapped" in it.
Dragons or wizards or devils didn't have a large part anything, at least in the book I am looking for. I marked this as fantasy because (like in point 13) I recall there being fantastic parts. These are the details I used to form my own search. I have over the last couple of years tried several searches, on the Internet and in libraries, to no avail.