Author: Chantal Gadoury
Genre: Fairy tale (re-telling)
153 pages, kindle edition, published by Amazon Digital Services on 21 December 2015
A king makes a promise to his dying wife, to marry only a woman with her beautiful golden hair. After years of searching, there is only one person that will do and he turns his ‘affections’ towards his daughter. Aurelia is desperate to escape the destiny that he has in store for her and she escapes, hidden by a cloak made of a thousand furs. She flees to the neighbouring kingdom, but she can’t escape that what haunts her. She has to deal with her past in order to have a future.
I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
‘If you ever decide to remarry, you must marry someone who is as beautiful as I and has my golden hair.’
This, relatively short, story is the re-telling of a fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm. I have no problem with reading a re-telling if only it’s original and catching. Since this story was based on another it is hard to be all that original but Gadoury managed to create a full story, filling the blanks that were left by the Brothers Grimm. The word-building was quite good as far as I’m concerned and I definitely liked the amount of detail that was put into making this world ‘complete’. For some reason, I sometimes had the idea that I was reading Historical Fiction instead of a fairy tale, nothing wrong with that because it only made it a little more realistic. Maybe it’s because I’m not that familiar with the original, but I didn’t feel like I was reading a re-telling.
There were some typical aspects in here that you’ll find in most fairy tales, such as the evil(ish) king/queen, a beautiful princess and the trustworthy maid. Most characters that were of some importance were well worked out, so nothing wrong in that area. I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that this book was written in such a way that I was able to understand most of the characters motives and actions. Not always was an action pleasant to the imagination, but I was able to feel understanding for most characters (even the king, but I’ll come back to that later).
Important to know, in this case, is that the story is written in first person. This means that the whole story is told from Aurelia’s point of view and that was something that I had a hard time dealing with. Again I find myself in a situation where I’d rather read the book in a third person, or anything but first person really… Aurelia is a little naïve, actually very much so, and that was a thing that I just couldn’t understand. I do understand her will to prove her father that she is a daughter that he can be proud of, so that made most of her actions in the story bearable.
Another reason for me disliking the first person in this story is the events that passed between her and her father, the king. Now, I think I can say that I can handle a lot of things while reading a book but there was one thing what left me disgusted; paternal rape. You see, I have no real problem with reading about it in a way where it’s mentioned that it takes place, but there is no detail. However, since this is a first person p.o.v., this was a scene with too much information. Sorry, I just couldn’t really handle that. I know that it happens in this age, and that is has happened throughout history, but that doesn’t mean that I want to read about it and definitely not in first person.
In a weird way I understand why the king got crazy enough to try it with his daughter, but come on… it wasn’t necessary to create a picture of it in so much detail.
To end on a positive note: the ending showed massive character development from Aurelia. Instead of hiding away and being frightened and ignorant, she dealt with her past and simply faced her own demons, as a grown woman. In the end I was caught by the story and I really wanted to know the ending, wishing that it would end well for Aurelia and her prince.
In short: Gadoury made the story her own, I didn’t feel like I was reading a re-telling. The world-building was good and most characters were well worked out. However, the whole rape-thing makes me a little unsure about how I want to rate this…
I give this book 2.5 stars because I was put off by the first part, mostly because of the rape. It was well written but unfortunately the book and I just didn’t connect.