Author: Chantal Gadoury
Genre: Young Adult: Fantasy, Retelling
Publication Date: August 22nd 2017
My Rating: 4/5 stars
In the kingdom of Tranen, a king makes a promise to his dying wife that he’ll only remarry a woman who possesses her golden hair. In time, the king’s eyes are turned by his daughter. Realizing her father’s intentions, Princess Aurelia tries to trick him by requesting impossible gifts: dresses created by the sun, moon and stars, and a coat made of a thousand furs. But when he is successful, Aurelia sacrifices her privileged life and flees her kingdom, disguised by the cloak and a new name, Allerleirauh.
She enters the safe haven of Saarland der Licht, where the handsome and gentle Prince Klaus takes her under his care. Hoping not to be discovered by her father’s courtiers, Allerleirauh tries to remain hidden under her new identity when she finds unexpected love with Prince Klaus, even though his arranged marriage to the princess of a neighboring kingdom approaches. Risking everything, Allerleirauh must face her troubled past and her fears of the future along her journey to self-acceptance in this triumphant retelling of the classic Grimm Fairy Tale.
TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE SCENES
Thank you to Chantal Gadoury for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I LOVE retellings, and this one was no disappointment. I’ll admit, I was at first a bit hesitant to read this because of Aurelia’s father’s intentions. But other than that, the story is quite pleasant to read and is intriguing for majority of the novel.
The writing was easy to get into and the prologue makes you sympathise with Aurelia, I, myself, prayed for good fortune and happiness for her after I read the prologue. The author was able to draw me into the story immediately and I loved Aurelia. Aurelia’s voice is easy to read, allowing readers to connect with her more easily. The author was also able to weave Aurelia’s history and childhood through her memories, and made it relevant to what was happening to her in the present time, as in something she was doing now would have made her remember something in the past.
I enjoyed Aurelia’s as a character, but found her to be extremely naïve. But to be fair, she hadn’t been raised by a parent’s love but was looked after by her maid… whom I have forgotten the name of but I know I loved her too. As the story progressed, it was clear that Aurelia was growing as a person, as she learnt to confront her past and move on from her traumatic experiences. She even became less naïve, but that was because of the consequences of the events in the middle of the story. When the king, her father, started to take interest in her and was building up to the “marriage” with her, I kept hoping she would run away before something bad happened. The author has a way of making us care for Aurelia and want to protect her. I’m proud of Aurelia for standing up to her father and for her trusting Klaus to protect her.
I loved Prince Klaus and Lord Crestwood the moment I met them. They were gentle, caring and loving to each other, the people in the castle and their people, from what I gathered. I adored all the moments with Prince Klaus and Aurelia, Prince Klaus never pushed Aurelia too far out of her comfort zone, and I was glad for that. Aurelia definitely deserves him, and for him to love her, especially with her traumatic experience. Lord Crestwood was amusing and was mostly mischevious and playful, and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED HIM. He reminded me so much of Kenji from the Shatter Me series and I’d definitely want him in my life. The ending made me love him even more so and gahh I want more of him.
Although this is technically a Rapunzel retelling, this story was completely unique and had very little similarities that I could pick up on that related to the Rapunzel fairy tale. Aurelia and her mother’s golden hair probably adapted from Rapunzel’s story, and I feel like Aurelia cutting her hair is similar to the scene in Tangled where Rapunzel cuts her hair at the end, for different reasons of course.
I would have liked to know how Aurelia’s father was able to obtain all the impossible gifts that Aurelia requested for and maybe discover more about Aurelia’s mother’s background because that remains a huge mystery throughout the novel. Though she’s passed on, so I don’t suppose it matters now. But maybe her origins might be the reason why the king was able to get such impossible gifts.
Overall, it was an amazing novel and a wonderful twist on the Rapunzel story. I’d definitely recommend this to people who love fantasy or fairy tale retellings.