Thursday, April 26, 2012


Author: Heather Dixon
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 480
Published: 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Rating: 5/5 Stars

"Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father’s grief. What they don’t understand—although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in—is that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose. Luckily, Azalea is brave and steadfast. Luckily, a handsome young army captain also has his eye on Azalea. . . . Lush, romantic, and compelling, this debut novel by Heather Dixon will thrill fans of Shannon Hale, Robin McKinley, and Edith Pattou"

My mom insists that she was never really into fairy tales when she was little.  I insist she's lying.  Maybe she wasn't the dress up like Cinderella and run around the backyard pretending to talk to woodland creatures type, but I promise you that at one point in her life someone read her a story about a princess in a far away kingdom, etc, etc and she pictured herself in a big poofy dress holding court over the the family dog and her rather large collection of gerbils.  Little girls (even the non-girly types) love princesses and talking animals and handsome princes. That's why Disney was invented right?  Fairy tales: it's what we do (I feel like that should be on a shirt somewhere).  I, myself, spent the vast majority of my childhood playing princess with my stuffed animals and I have the crown (and the superiority complex) to prove it.  But I digress, why do we really love fairy tales?  I maintain that it is because they are so contradictory.  There are always two sides to a good fairy tale.  First, the fluff.  The beautiful princess, the charming castle, the enchanted forest and the handsome prince.  But something sinister lurks in the dark.  In all of these stories there is fear.  Witches, dragons, imprisonment, and (almost without exception) death.  That's what makes the story so great.  You're enchanted, but you're afraid at the same time.  

Entwined in a fairy tale lovers dream.  It is beautiful, witty and tragic.  There were times during the book where I laughed out loud (usually because of the main character's closest sister, Bramble), there were times when I was grinning like an idiot and there were times when I was so freaked out I had a little trouble going to sleep.  This book is magic, plain and simple.  Dixon tells the story of Azalea and her eleven sisters.  Their mother has died and their father, the King, is distant and can't be bothered with them.  The house is in mourning for a whole year and the girls are forbidden from dancing, which is the only way they find comfort.  They find a magic passageway that takes them to a silver forest where they can dance every night.  However, the sinister Keeper wants something in return.  Meanwhile the girls struggle to come to terms with the death of their mother and the absence of their father all while trying to navigate the sticky world of romance.  This book is not just about fairy tales and princesses though.  The main theme of the story is the importance of family.

This is Dixon's first novel and she has done a magnificent job. One of the most amazing things was the character development.  There are the twelve princesses and the king and queen, the household staff and several friends as well as Keeper and by about the fourth chapter you felt that you knew everyone!  I found myself going "that's so Bramble" or "why does Delphinium have to be so grumpy" as I read. I truly did not want this book to end.  The whole experience was just too much fun.  It was sweet and spooky and quirky and hilarious all rolled in to one big shining package.  I have been scouring the internet looking for news of a sequel with no success thus far.  I really hope Dixon decides to continue the story of Azalea and her sisters, they are too charming for her to stop now.  This is a must read!


  1. Oh, Catie, you convinced me to give this book a go! I LOVE fairy tale retelling! And I sooo agree with you, every little girl love princesses and talking animals and handsome princes! When I was a kid, I used to pretend that I was a princess LOL! Too bad reality strikes in and I finally realize that there's more behind all the pretty dress! But, still... no one is too old for Disney, right? ;)

    Awesome review, Catie! :)

    1. You can never be to old for Disney Hilda! Haha. Enjoy the read :)

  2. I'm really looking forward to reading this one. :)
    I'm a new gfc and networked follower, btw.

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  4. Oh man! I really gotta read this now, I've seen it, but never got. So glad you read it and put a review on it. Thank you!