Written by: Heather Dixon
Released: March 29, 2011 by Greenwillow Books
Summary: Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.But there is a cost.The Keeper likes to keep things.Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.
It’s no secret that I LOVE fairy tale retellings. Seriously, I have more than an entire shelf full of them. I don’t necessarily have a favourite, but this novel was so beautifully done (and with such a gorgeous cover) and it’s now secured near the top of my favourites!
But it’s not just the cover that’s gorgeous; the writing style was amazing as well. I was immediately catapulted into the world of Azalea and her sisters, the royal shambles of their existence, and the immediate sorrow. The way that Dixon incorporated dancing into the everyday life of the characters made the whole fairy tale come to life – the need to dance outweighing the fact that it’s forbidden during mourning and thus resulting in the enigma of Keeper and the country’s history.
I loved how the fairy tale was played out. The use of silver, the history of the kingdom, and how everything was brought together played well off the princesses and the dancing. It really fleshed out everything while having an underlying creep factor and a beauty that’s hard to find in novels – all while sticking to the base of the original fairy tale.
The characters in this novel were easy to love. Azalea and her sisters (all their names being in alphabetical order which made putting them in order easier though the flower names really sometimes made me confused) were individualized especially the three oldest Azalea, Bramble, and Clover. I loved seeing how they evolved throughout the year that the novel spans over and seeing each of them find love and happiness. Bramble especially made me laugh quite a few times. There was a really memorable outburst at a dinner with the king that made me more than giggle.
Keeper really made this story, though. He starts off as this darkly suave character who puts the reader on edge and the creepy factor just seems to escalate from there. I especially was put on edge by him whenever he tried/succeeded in dancing with Azalea. He left this wonderfully slimy feeling every time he was in a scene and it just added to the overall mystery.
I greatly enjoyed this novel and it’s definitely made me a fan of Dixon’s writing and I’ll be sure to check out whatever she comes out with next. I’m more than happy that I talked myself* into buying my very own copy. Plus, as an added bonus this is a 2011 debut!
I’m giving this novel a 9/10. Romance, mystery, creepiness, fairy tales, and magic; If that paired with the fact that it’s a 2011 debut isn’t enough to pick this up next time you’re at a bookstore/library I don’t know what is!
*Yeah... like I ever really need to talk myself into buying a pretty book.