Wednesday, May 18, 2011


This story takes the fairy tale of the twelve dancing princesses and gives it a gothic twist.   The oldest princess is Azalea, and she’s become the caretaker of her 11 youngest sisters since her mom’s death after giving birth to the youngest. In mourning, their father the king has forbidden dancing. But the enchanted castle has a secret door in the girls’ room. There, they can dance every night to their hearts content, at the Keeper’s invitation. Azalea soon learns he is actually the former King who enchanted the castle and his own body so that he’d not die, but exist in the magical realm within the castle’s walls. HIs demands for Azalea are the source of the tension and much of the novel's gothic feel. As she is realizing what is truly at stake, and the meaning behind her father's withdrawn moodiness, the suspense and action are at their climax. The sisters are all distinct and engaging, battling with their own issues in a full family domicile. One of the highlights of the story is the parade of suitors brought around to gain the eye of the Princess Royale, and the ensuing romantic entanglements. Being such a thick book, some readers may find it hard to get into, as it could be slow and confusing at first. But those who stick with it will be rewarded.

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