|Who can resist a cover like that?|
Captivating from start to finish, Jessica Day George’s take on the Grimms’ tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses demonstrates yet again her mastery at spinning something entirely fresh out of a story you thought you knew.
Rose and her eleven sisters are doomed to dance every night for the evil scheming King Under Stone and his sons, the Princes because of a binding bargain that their deceased mother made years ago. Despairing, the King promises one of his daughter's in marriage to the Prince who can find out why the Princess's dancing shoes are mysteriously worn out every night and how they end up so exhausted. The gallant young soldier Galen returned from war who has taken a position as under-gardener soon learns of this when he befriends the Princesses and decides he must do everything in his power to reveal the secret and save the Princesses.
I read this book at the right time because a fairy tale retelling like this one is a perfect Easter holiday read! I loved the 15th century Germanic like country in the aftermath of war that the book was set in and the dark world of the Under Stone that the Princesses must travel to but my favourite aspect of the book was the characters. The story is told from the third person perspectives of the two main characters Galen and the eldest Princess Rose and each of them were easy to root for. Galen was everything that you'd expect of a worthy fairy tale hero: dashingly romantic, noble, considerate (don't forget that he likes to knit!) and courageous whilst Rose was the perfect heroine in distress: beautiful, kind and loving to her sisters but with an unspeakable burden on her shoulders. However, each of the other eleven Princess had distinguishable personality traits too, which worked really well but a week after reading the book, their names have blended into a confusing tangle as they were all named after flowers.
I wasn't really familiar with the original fairy tale before I read this book so but I looked it up afterwards and Jessica Day George has really made it into her own story with lots of twists and turns and explanations that were omitted in the original that help the story to make more sense. For example she has invented a reason for the Princesses to dance every night, which makes the plot a lot more exciting!
Jessica Day George's writing is simple but beautiful at the same time and makes for a light but well written read. So even though the plot is predictable, the story is still a delight to read that kept me turning the pages. I will definitely be checking out the 'sequel' Princess Of Glass, a Cinderella retelling using one of the Princessses from this book.
Quick read: Princess Of The Midnight Ball has everything needed an enchanting escape whilst basking in the spring sunshine from a handsome and brave hero, a beautiful and kind Princess heroine to a magical world and true love. Pick up this for a quick treat- after all, everyone needs a little bit of happily ever after once in a while!
Rating: 4 stars