Author: Jane Yolen
Publication Date: 1988
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Copy provided by: Myself (bought)
Summary (via Goodreads):
Ever since she was a child, Rebecca has been enchanted by her grandmother Gemma’s stories about Briar Rose. But a promise Rebecca makes to her dying grandmother will lead her on a remarkable journey to uncover the truth of Gemma’s astonishing claim: I am Briar Rose. A journey that will lead her to unspeakable brutality and horror. But also to redemption and hope.
Why I read this: This is actually a reread for me for a Goodreads bookclub called Wild Things YA. I loved this novel when I first read it years ago and figured it was time for a reread anyways.
Plot: This story is told through our narrator Rebecca, but there are some fantastic flashbacks via her grandmother that come into play throughout the novel. It's definitely an eye-opening book and one that is a perfect blend of fairy tale and history. There is so much to this novel, Rebecca's obsession with finding out her grandmother's past and what a colorful past it was. The Holocaust is not an easy subject and I think that this retelling of Sleeping Beauty fits well with that time period and all the horrid things that were happening.
I love that this not only is a fairy tale retelling, but one that takes such a horrible aspect of history and winds it through one of the stories we grew up hearing. Definitely a book that should not be missed.
Characters: I loved getting a peak into the past of Rebecca's charming grandmother and the things that truly made her who she was in Rebecca's life. Rebecca herself is a young woman motivated to find a truth that was never revealed to her until her grandmother's death. I often wish I had more time to listen to the stories of my great-grandmother before she passed away.
Relatability: I think anyone who had a grandparent who shared a story of there past can relate to this novel. There's always some mystery behind our family history and it's so interesting to discover it for the first time.
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