Hello all! It’s Monday and with it comes your weekly Morning Muse post. I have a confession to make: I was a tad tardy with getting through my reading for my post for the Classics Corner and ended up neglecting to chose and read a book to review today. Yes, I know I’m terrible but fear not! I chose a book on Sunday and read it from 7 to 11:51 and now I’m up at a quarter past midnight making sure you can all wake up to a nice long post. Needless to say, I will not be making a habit of this. So today, I’ll be reviewing Entwined by Heather Dixon.
Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it’s taken away. All of it.
The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.
(Picture and Description compliments of Goodreads)
It wasn’t hard to figure out that Entwined was a retelling of the story of Twelve Dancing Princesses and I was eager to see how it was handled. Needless to say I was not disappointed. From start to end, words flew off the page and I began to get lost in Azalea’s world and her love of dancing. I found myself smiling suddenly and laughing to myself and bobbing up and down with excitement at different moments within the book. By the time I finally finished the story, my heart was light and I was filled with unbridled optimism about love and happy endings.
The author chose to use the third person point of view yet she uses it in such a way that we still get right into Azalea’s mind and heart. Amazingly enough, I assumed the book was written in first person but luckily I double-checked as I’ve trained myself to do and I was pleasantly surprised. I must also mention that the characters’ dialogue was realistic and free-flowing.
Azalea Wentworth was a beautifully crafted character. We are given the chance of watching her grow gracefully into a woman, who knows what she wants and also what she must do. Along the way she has a few slip-ups but they remind us that no one is perfect and that everything cannot go as planned; mainly we learn that life can be unpredictable and that we must make the best of it and Azalea manages to turn it into an art form. Her love of dance added depth to her character especially as it could be linked back to her mother, someone she loved more than anything else. Examining her is an excellent exercise in learning about character development.
The Keeper was also a lovely character. I love how the author orchestrated his transformation from their beautiful saviour into a hated tyrant. At no point was this transformation forced, each flaw, each little inconsistency in his behaviour came about with purpose and with ease, escalating slowly so that by the time his true character is revealed we cannot question the reality of it.
Retellings are such an interesting concept. They involve writers taking the main bits of one story and then adding their own thoughts to it without completely destroying the essence of the original story. Heather Dixon manages this wonderfully. We get the main points: twelve princesses, a magic passage, dancing all night long and ruining their slipper; yet we also get much more. We see the love these sisters have for their late mother, their dysfunctional relationship with their father and the close bond the all have between them. We learn their names and find out what they’re like as people, we learn their fears and their beliefs on love. The author transforms the simple fairy tale into something revealing and beautiful and should be commended for it.
I must mention I was slightly worried about how the author would manage with so many important characters, however, she managed the twelve princesses, the beloveds of the eldest three, the King and the Keeper extremely well. It is a feat that deserves acknowledgement.
Cover/ Blurb (writer does not have control over these):
I felt like the cover was indeed beautiful and made me think ‘fairy tale’. The blurb was also quite accurate which is a definite plus.
This story gets a solid rating of 4 out of 5 stars. The pacing, the flow, the ease with which I could read this story as well as great dialogue and masterfully crafted characters all combined to make a truly beautiful tale as well as a lovely example of the writing craft.
Hurrah for our third Morning Muse post! Hopefully, the quality of this post hasn’t suffered due to my tardiness. I hope everyone’s been doing their research and I hope everyone attempted the writing prompt, we’ll be needing the results of each for Wednesday’s post. Please remember, if you have any suggestions etc., fee free to drop me a line either via a comment or through email. And now I’ll bid you all good night, I’m bushed.
Have a lovely day!
K, the Popinjay.