My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses was lovely. (As an aside, it had to be good since I just recently read Entwined, which was also a reimagining of the same fairytale. But the two books, despite sharing common themes, turned out to be different enough that both were enjoyable).
The story centres around Galen – a young soldier back from war, working in the royal gardens at the Palace, and Rose – the eldest of the twelve princesses who are cursed to dance at the Midnight Ball in an enchanted underworld. The other eleven sisters don’t play a huge role, other than the very youngest and oldest. The sisters’ relationship isn’t a central focus to the story either, this being more of a love story between the two main characters.
This book keeps a lot of elements from the original fairytale (from what I can remember), such as: the curse is meant to keep the sisters dancing in the Underworld until they come of an age that they can marry the twelve Princes, the King announces that whichever Prince (above-ground) can solve the mystery of the worn-out slippers will win his eldest daughter’s hand (and inherit the throne), none of the princely suitors can solve the mystery, and it ends up being the regular-guy who saves the day and wins the girl.
I found the story enchanting, and easy to get into. I read it in one day, not wanting to leave off in the middle of the story even though I could anticipate what would eventually happen. I really liked the knitting part of the plot (Galen knits!) and how knitwear and boiled wool end up assisting Galen in his heroics. I also enjoyed seeing the romance develop between Rose and Galen.
My only tiny complaint would be that the ends were tied up almost too neatly in the end. It seemed like the final battle was pretty easy to win, I kept expecting creatures of the Underworld to make a final appearance in the castle, but they didn’t.
Oh! And I can’t forget: I loved Walter.
You should read this if you love fairytales, or are looking for a fun, light read.