• Nina Clare

The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell (2014)

Updated: Jul 10

I found this retelling of The Sleeping Beauty both mysterious and compelling from the first page. I loved the medieval setting – and is there any setting more deliciously fairy-tale-like than an enchanted medieval castle?

Sand (short for Alexandre) is a thirteen-year-old blacksmith’s son who finds himself supernaturally transported into an abandoned castle, surrounded by impregnable walls of vicious thorns. The castle is lifeless, and he has to draw on hitherto-unknown resources to not only survive in his captivity, but find a way to break the curse that holds him there.

The only other living person in the castle is the newly awakened daughter of the long-dead count; she had been thought dead since the time the curse settled upon the castle. Together they must solve the mystery of the curse that binds the castle, and understand what power is needed to break it.

This is marketed as a middle-grade novel, but I found it to be more YA-level in its themes and language. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am off to read Merrie Haskell’s other two novels. Don’t you just love it when you find a new author to read?

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