I loved this volume! I loved Diane Zahler’s alternative “history” to SLEEPING BEAUTY (interwoven with the tale we know & love) in which when the princess pricks herself, her naughty sister pinches her hard to keep her awake!

Briar Rose and her husband The Prince (the one who awakened her with a kiss) have a happy marriage that has blessed them with two daughters. But dark memories intrude, causing them to live in a remote castle on a cliff, to forbid their daughters from wandering outside, and to ban any sharp objects.

Aurora, the elder, has the long golden locks and loveliness of her mother. Because there are no sons, she will rule some day. (She is twelve in this story.) Her younger sister Luna (who I guess is about eight years old) is a naughty sprite of a child, beloved (and spoiled) by her father, merrily creating havoc. Of course it is she who manages to cause a pot of honey to fall to the ground on the unforgiving stone floor of the kitchen. The shattered glass shards provide an opportunity for Luna to cut off her hair – a source of torment to her – as she cannot find scissors or sharp knives. (They have been banned.) Her mother nearly has a fainting fit on seeing this scene, complete with Luna’s blood. But nothing bad comes from the incident.

However, when Luna decides to rifle through the belongings of new tutor Master Julien, and discovers a quill which has been cut to an appropriate sharpness for writing, and Aurora pricks her finger on it, well, that is quite another matter. It seems that the Old Fairy who cursed Briar Rose also cursed Aurora, the curse making Aurora fall asleep for one hundred years if she pricks her finger.

But naughty sister Luna comes to the rescue. First she pinches her sister to keep her awake. Then she discovers a potion that has a similar effect as coffee (perhaps it is coffee?) causing Aurora to become alert, at least temporarily. Lastly Luna persuades Aurora to leave on adventure to find Fairy Godmother Emmeline, who can reverse the curse.

This is a wonderful book for sisters, as we follow solemn Aurora and merry Luna on a romp of improbable events that ends…you guessed it…Happily Ever After. Five stars.