Main characters: Talia
Time and place: Once upon a time :)
First sentence: “The booted feet stopped before me as I sat on the ground, hugging my knees.”
Summary: The princess that will remain in fairytale history as the Sleeping Beauty has just been born, and has just been cursed. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so her distraught parents order the destruction of all the spinning wheels in the kingdom.
A thing that brings Talia’s hopes for a better future to an end. Without her spinning wheel there is no way for her to earn her bread, much less to gather a dowry. Without a dowry, she cannot marry her betrothed. Her only consolation is her plan to have a child by him, a little girl to chase away solitude, a little girl whose name’s already been picked. But after a while it becomes obvious that Thalia cannot have children, so she tries to quench her thirst for love into the arms of a string of men, all having something or other in common with the one she has, ages ago, been in love with.
A cute take on a fairytale we all know and love. A bit more sex than I expected, but a lot less than it could have been (there are sex scenes but there are not very many details about any of them). A fast read, with a bit of darkness added in for good measure (after all, we can never properly appreciate true happiness unless we’ve seen sorrow, right?).
The main character, Talia, is an interesting one: she is rather on the ugly side, complete with warts on her face, and yet men find her sexually attractive, which means she must have something about her. Despite the hardships she endures (and the fact that she seeks consolation, without finding it, in the arms of many men), she is essentially a good person, and one is sorry to see her being so miserable and alone. Luckily this is a fairytale so it must end well, right? :)
I happen to very much like the love stories where ordinary-looking people fall for each other, and as such I loved reading about Talia’s meeting Willard, and their marriage plans. Sure, at first they didn’t seem to care that much about one another (their decision to be married being based on both of them’s certainty that no one else will ever want them), and I wasn’t that interested in them either, however after a while, when their feelings developed and crystallized, I … well, I wasn’t able to root for them, since by then Willard was already at a monastery, but I kept thinking fondly of what might have been. An interesting thing, to become invested in a relationship after it has already run its course; but Talia kept thinking about him fondly, and, as I was right beside her, so did I.
There’s relatively little plot, since this is a novella and all. Interestingly enough though, most of it was unexpected for me, going into a whole other direction than I thought it would have. A pleasant surprise, of course :)
I am not entirely sure how believable the setting is. Don’t get me wrong, the medieval rural life is okay enough done, but the thing that puzzled me a bit is the fact that royal heads seemed to be walking among ordinary people a bit more often than I thought they would be. A thing that detracts a tiny bit from the credibility of it all (but then again, we’re talking about a fairytale here so no one expects 100% credibility, right?).
Thoughts on the title
I don’t remember there being any sevenfold spell in the original fairytale (nor was I certain what the idea of a sevenfold spell actually entails), everything becomes clearer in the last third of the book. So yes, it’s an okay title I guess.
Thoughts on the ending
The ending was, of course, worthy of a fairytale. “And they lived happily ever after”. I loved it, of course, especially as it was a tiny bit unexpected :)
What I liked most
The very reason why I picked this book up, and the thing that I enjoyed most, was the whole idea behind the book, about what happens to the ordinary girls in the kingdom when someone sets a curse on the princess. A novel perspective if there ever was one, I think.
What I liked least
There’s nothing that has actually bothered me (although to be honest I didn’t quite get why the mother’s words became a spell, but since it was a rather cute addition to the story I will not protest that much).
Recommend it to?
Anyone in the mood for a quick light read. Fairies, spinning wheels, and a happy ending await you :)
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