My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I picked up this book at the library, I was attracted to the beautiful cover. And hey, a re-telling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses… it had the potential to be a nice holiday read.
I enjoyed it much more than I expected! It brought back memories of being in love with the Beauty & the Beast fairytale (the magical objects in this story brought to mind the enchanted objects in that one), and because I was only partially familiar with the original tale in this case, there was still that bit of necessary suspense and excitement.
Having grown up with three younger brothers and no sisters, I’ve always loved reading about sisters. So Azalea having eleven of them was pretty great. Some of the younger characters weren’t that integral to the story, so they just had small roles, which I was totally fine with- keeping track of eleven fully developed characters… well, I might as well be reading a George R R Martin book or something! (Haha, joking- GRRM would mean about a thousand fully developed characters…)
Azalea, Bramble, and Clover- the three oldest sisters – are the stars of the story. At the start, right after their mother dies, they are striving to exist in a household where their father (who they refer to as The King) seems to ignore them, and they’re being forced to give up all that they enjoy during mourning (including dancing).
After discovering a magical entryway to a mysterious dance pavillion, they encounter the baddie: Mr. Keeper, who slyly offers them the chance to dance each night, but in exchange for… what?
Discovering just who and what the creepy Keeper is is one of the most enjoyable parts of the story. I also liked the descriptions of the dances, especially the one the book is titled after: The Entwine. And my other favourite part was watching the romances develop for the eldest three sisters.
Mr. Bradford- I loved him. It just goes to show that a hero doesn’t have to be smarmy and forceful (as so many seem to be) – he’s just a mild-mannered, nice-looking guy – with the requisite scene where he (view spoiler) I like when a normal guy is the hero. It’s more like real life.
Overall, this book was enchanting. Despite a strange obsession with describing “the half-moon indents” on Azalea’s palms (she clenches her fingernails there, don’t you know??), I was able to get into the story, and enjoy it for what it was- a magical re-telling of a fairytale classic.