Like most girls, I grew up on fairy tales. I watched all the Disney movies and read as many fairy tale books as I could get my hands on. Whether it was Ariel and Prince Eric defeating the evil sea witch, Belle and Beast overcoming Gaston, or Prince Phillip awakening Aurora with a kiss, I watched with bated breath for their happily ever after.
I still love reading or watching stories that end with a happily ever after, and that’s why I love reading fairy tale retellings. So when I saw Heather Dixon’s retelling of the “Twelve Dancing Princesses,” I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. And I was not disappointed.
The story starts out with the tragic death of Azalea’s mother. If the pain of losing their mother wasn’t enough, their father, the King, forbids Azalea and her eleven sisters to dance or go outdoors for a year in mourning. Desperate for the joy that dancing brings, Azalea and her sisters discover a secret passageway to an underground dancing pavilion overseen by a mysterious Mr. Keeper. Delighted by their ability to dance undetected, the sisters spend each night there dancing the hours away. But when personal items from the girls go missing, and Azalea learns of Mr. Keeper’s desire for freedom, their dancing paradise becomes their worst nightmare.
I thought this book was fantastic. I couldn’t stop reading it until the wee hours of the morning and I was finished with it. This book is filled with romance, adventure, tragedy, and magic. There’s so many things I want to tell you about this book, but I don’t want to spoil the joy of uncovering it for yourself. There are a few things I want to talk about though. I love how Dixon goes into family dynamics. This isn’t just a story of twelve sisters losing their mother; it’s a story about how they try to reconnect with their father after he seemingly abandons them. It isn’t a story with just one romance, but multiple romances. And the best part of all, in my opinion, is that this story is absolutely clean! Dixon manages to weave a romantic and dramatic story without any controversial scenes or language. I volunteer with the young women in my church, and there are times I struggle to recommend not only good books, but clean as well. I love that I can recommend this book to any of them without hesitation.
So if you’re looking for a great variation on a fairy tale classic, try Entwined by Heather Dixon.