by Robin McKinley (Author)
Atale like Sleeping Beauty is the hazy framework of a story that is open to many interpretations and possible tales. This is one such, particularly well-told.
In Spindle’s End, Rosie is the middle-ages baby whose royal parents fail to invite the thirteenth fairy-woman, who has pure spite in her. But a sensible, warm young woman called Katriona intervenes and takes the little one to the country village she comes from. There Rosie grows up to be an apprentice to a young blacksmith, Narl. Though Katriona and her auntie, who have fairy blood in them, try to teach Rosie their magic, she has only a special kinship with animals to make her different from other children.
Her life and its loves (including a bonding with Narl) develop and as she approaches her 21st birthday, bad spells seem far away. But first a friendship with a really princessy girl, Peony, and then the gathering of protective forces in a special way, suggest a storm will break around her. Without giving away the rich complexity of the interplay between natural energies and spiritual magic utterly rooted in love, the reviewer predicts this story will be a tenderly-thought-of and oftenreturned- to reading experience, especially for girls of 10 and upwards.
It could also lead to writing unusual retellings of other fairy tales and legends, set in other times and places, and enriched by being told from unusual angles. This book is certainly worth while as a springboard, and as a pleasurable private read.