Tuesday, December 14, 2010


This book surprised me. As I stepped into its pages, I felt like I was stepping into an old fairytale. I searched the book's extra content to see if it was, perhaps, based on a fairytale, as many of the books I like are these days, but I didn't see any references to outside stories. So, to my knowledge, Entwined is a new fairytale for young adults, one with all the weight and substance of the beloved classic tales.

Azalea is the oldest of 12 sisters. They live in a castle that was once enchanted but which now has only vestiges of magic left over from the days of an evil king. Their favorite pastime is dancing, and Azalea is the best dancer of all. She is also the Princess Royale and must marry whomever parliament and her father choose. But when the princesses' mother dies, their household is thrust into a year of mourning, and the girls will do anything to be able to dance again, even if it means keeping a dangerous secret from their father and escaping through a magic passageway to an enchanted silver forest where the mysterious Keeper lets them dance the nights away.

This book is simply beautiful and much more than the typical princess romance. In fact, the story is about 12 princesses who learn what it means to be a family and how to care for each other in their misery. Interestingly, the royal family is poor. Though they are royalty, they have less to eat than the marriage-seekers who visit Azalea during their year of mourning. They even have to mend their own dancing slippers, which they wear out every night (though this is mostly because they are dancing in secret).

Twelve sisters seem like a lot of characters to keep track of, but Heather Dixon does a fine job of giving them each their own quirks, and by the end, readers will be familiar with them all. The king is another interesting character. Readers will not know what to make of him at the beginning, and they will find that the princesses do not know their father very well. At the risk of spoiling a plot line here for some, I will say that the king begins the story as the antagonist, but surprises wait along the way. This story is as much about the girls' relationship with their father as it is about their sisterly affection or about the romances of the older sisters. Every character is vivid and entertaining, and as the danger increases, the characters become more and more intriguing.

This is also a book of morality and chivalry, celebrating an older time when even a girl's ankles could make a man blush and when overstepping boundaries with a woman deserved a punch to the face, if not a duel.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Entwined, but you will have to wait until its publication in April 2011.

1 comment:

  1. I believe thatEntwined is a re-telling of the classic Brothers Grimm tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. I'm not very familiar with that tale, but I think I remember a letter from the publisher telling me that. I can't wait to read it!


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