It’s been a while since I’ve posted. If you’re still getting my emails or checking my blog, hello! I intend to start posting more this year. In the meantime, here is a review of a book I read recently. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily writing a review (because I really liked it!).
The book may not be available quite yet when this post comes out, but you can pre-order it or check out details on the author’s website here: https://katysfables.com
After an eight hundred-year-long magical nap, a princess wakes up to find herself in twenty-first century England. This might sound like the beginning of a modern retelling of “Sleeping Beauty.” But while Katharine Campbell’s novel Rosaline’s Curse begins this way, the titular heroine proves herself to be decidedly more than a warmed-over Disney princess. Hers is a unique story filled with gentle humor and romance, Nutella sandwiches, stolen and re-stolen skeletons, and a pair of bothersome fairies.
The story begins when Mark Reid, a forensic anthropology student, accidentally wakes up Princess Rosaline from her lengthy slumber in a tower. Mark tries to help her integrate into the modern world, initially communicating with Rosaline in Latin using a translation app that sometimes produces hilarious results. But dealing with culture shocks and learning the hard way not to run into the street aren’t Rosaline’s primary concern. Her horrible ex-fiancé from the 1200s, a sorcerer named Lord Julyan, is somehow still alive too. And he still wants to marry her. With some help from Mark, Rosaline tries to figure out what Julyan is doing, and how she can break the curse that seems to have befallen her.
I love fairy tale retellings. But while there are perhaps hundreds of retellings of the well-known Perrault, Grimm, and Hans Christian Anderson stories, it’s rarer to find authors attempting unique fairy stories that also don’t cross into the fantasy genre. Campbell’s novel is a modern story, but it also captures the humor, quirkiness, and the glimpses of a reality beyond the material that are characteristic of fairy tales.
Some of the discussions about love and marriage make this a book for teens and up, but refreshingly, there’s none of the over-the-top sensuality or melodrama that you often find in romance plotlines. The characters are well-rounded and act like real people, with flaws as well as good qualities. For example, Rosaline isn’t a shrinking violet, a perfect saint, ora muscular warrior princess; she’s stubborn and practical, with a mischievous side.
I thoroughly enjoyed my journey into Campbell’s fairy tale, and I intend to check out her other published stories soon.