Monday, February 7, 2011

Entwined by Heather Dixon

by Heather Dixon

Genre : Young Adult | Historic | Romance | Fairy Tale

Review on behalf of Dark Fairy Tales

Confined to their dreary castle while mourning their mother's death, Princess Azalea Kathryn Wentworth and her eleven younger sisters dance in a 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 (trapped in a magic passageway) is tightening his snare with deadly purpose and soon their nightly dances becomes nightmarish.

Upon the royally hosted Yuletide ball, which is also Azalea's first ball allowed to attend at the age of fifteen, her sickly mother makes her promise upon an old silver handkerchief to 'always take care of her sisters' before passing away and causing the family to go into mourning for one full year. Gone are the colorful dresses, daily palace visitors, bright sunny windows (for they are covered now with dark draperies), outside trips to the garden, and most importantly...dancing...something all the sisters love dearly and remember most about their mother. To add to the growing grief, their father shortly departs to war without so much as a good-bye and all their mother's personal items are locked away so that nothing is left as a remembrance. Bitter, distraught, and lonely the girls turn to each other for emotional support and when Azalea discovers a secret magic passageway within the castle - all of them jump at the opportunity to escape to this new world and embrace the chance to dance nightly. Yet, as their sadness begins to lift, Azalea begins to realize that not all is as it seems and they may have gotten too entwined within Mr Keepers web to escape without harm.

First off, I feel in love with the sister's names in Entwined - "Princess Royale (Azalea), Bramble, Clover, Delphinium, Evening Primrose, Flora, Goldenrod, Hollyhock, Ivy, Jessamine, Kale, and tiny Lily" (pg 102) All alphabetical, all botanical, all girls - so whimsical and adorable. Honestly, I was expecting this story to be quite juvenile, but it came off as very emotionally entertaining and easily draws the reader into a world of magic and heartbreak. I enjoyed how brittle Azalea was upon her Mother's death since she so desperately wanted to trust in her father's love and blindly raised her sisters in their year of grief, thus, she instantly changed from a naive young princess to that of a responsible eldest sibling overnight. She easily took on the role of 'parent' when both were out of the picture and matured even more throughout the tale; wish I could have said the same for some of the other sisters (i.e. Bramble!) but , I guess, there does need to be some comical humor within a dark tale.

The royal palace was a fascinating setting for the little princesses; with bits of hidden magic left over from past eras. It came off as enchanted in some scenes and almost cursed in others, thus as a reader, it was hard to decided rather to be spooked or enthralled by the place itself. "It should have frightened [Azalea], thinking of the palace as once evil and magicked, with the candelabras and ceiling murals alive, but it didn't. It was hard to be frighted of a building that smelled of old toast" (pg 52) Overall, the story carried a heavy fairy-tale theme, but it still focused strongly on family bonds and learning to depend on others in between the mystical adventures. Plus, the "gentlemen" relationship aspect captivated me and had me guessing which suitors would end up with which sister and if all parties involved (ex. the King and fellow sisters) would agree to any future marriages. The courting manners were fun to read about and each sister had a distinct personality which really carried the story without making it feel dragged out or boring. Great read!

" Ladies' Dance Pocketbook : Entwine

The Entwine, also known as the gentleman's catch, is an amusing and challenging redowa suitable for accomplished partners. Similar to a trois-temps waltz, it is danced in open position with a long sash. The lady and gentleman each take ends of the sash, which their hands must not leave. In a series of quick steps the gentleman either twists the sash around the lady's wrists, pinning them (also known as the catch), or the lady avoids capture within three minutes' time. "

Likes: The relationship development between the King and his daughters.

Dislikes: Even though Entwined was set in a fantasy land - I felt a little lost on the time in which the story was being told (Victorian?) and felt a year or era given throughout the story would have satisfied my historical taste.


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