Entwined by Heather Dixon (2011)
Entwined is a retelling of the Grimm’s fairy-tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses, which is obviously a favourite fairy tale of mine, being the inspiration for my first published novel.
Heather Dixon leaves out some of the traditional version, as she has a magical woodland of silver, but no woodlands of gold and diamonds, but it is a forgivable plot omission, as in this retelling silver has a magical quality and significance to the plot, and anyhow - novelists have the right to leave out and add things as serves their story best!
In Entwined the twelve princesses vary in age from seventeen to new-born. Following the death of their mother, and the emotional abandonment of their father, the eldest princess feels it is her responsibility to take care of her very numerous siblings. She has her work cut out, as some of those siblings have strong minds of their own, and a lot of humorous scrapes ensue.
The only time the sisters can forget their grief is when they are dancing, but in their pseudo-Victorian world they are expected to observe a full year of mourning, and when in mourning - dancing is strictly prohibited, and the ballroom kept under lock and key.
When a magical dancing pavilion is discovered in a beautiful, secret world beyond their bedroom, it is too much temptation for the sisters, and a nightly ritual of dancing till dawn ensues.
But all is not as beautiful as it seems - this secret world harbours a sinister secret, one that seeks to destroy them all.
Entwined is a charming retelling, with lots of humour from the feisty sisters. It is also a sweet romance - in fact there are three sweet romances - even better!