Heather Dixon’s ENTWINED

ENTWINED is author Heather Dixon’s retelling of the twelve dancing princesses set in a castle in the nineteenth century. At the beginning, the eleven sisters are faced with a double tragedy, the death of a beloved mother when the twelfth sister is born, and the absence of their seemingly cold & callous father.

The rest of this volume takes place over the ensuing year as their father decrees a year of mourning for their mother, before he leaves.

The princesses, now abandoned, have nothing to relieve their grief, until the day the eldest princess, Azalea, rubs her mother’s handkerchief, turning a fireplace into a door.

The rest of the story has all the elements of the traditional Twelve Dancing Princesses story, except that in this version, the sisters dance by themselves, without any princes, except for poor Princess Azalea, who is partnered by the sinister (& devilishly handsome) Keeper.

There were several wonderful touches to this story. I enjoyed the alphabetical naming of the princesses: Azalea, Bramble, Clover, Delphinium, (Primrose) Eve, Flora, Goldenrod, Hollyhock, Ivy, Jessamine, Kale and baby Lily. But it was also a treat to read so much about dancing. On the frontispiece of this volume, is a description of a dance called the The Entwine, which involves a long sash and a waltz. As someone who loves to dance myself, I enjoyed all the talk of dancing.

This tale has a dark underlay to it that balances out all the froth (unavoidable if you are talking about 12 sisters.) If you or a young lady that you know enjoys reading something that is a blend of historical fiction, fantasy, faery and fairy tale, this is the perfect book. Five stars.