I must confess that, being 38, I do not normally read teen fiction. This novel Entwined was recommended to me via Amazon UK based on the fact that I do buy a lot of fairytale and mythology books.
The title intrigued me so I clicked on the recommendation and then clicked again to search inside. Everything about this book drew me in from the stunning cover treatment ( I am a sucker for a castle and a ballgown!) to the blurb which hints at magic but gives nothing away.
I am an avid bookworm and as an author myself I can be tough on books. It is very rare that I can pin point the exact reading moment when I decide to purchase a title; usually it is just a vague feeling of wanting to read a particular kind of novel, or wanting to read a particular author. In this instance, as I read the opening paragraphs on Amazon UK I can pinpoint the exact moment the book grabbed me.
Here is the line taken from page 4;
"From the table next to the sofa, the old magic tea set clinked and clattered faintly, pouring a cup of tea in its pushy way."
Those were the words which sold me the book. An enchanted tea set?! What's not to like? A couple of days later the book arrived and I was gripped by a thoroughly original fairytale. Entwined takes place in a magical world and follows the fortunes of Princess Azalea and her eleven sisters, each named for a flower. After the death of their mother they are thrown into mourning and forbidden to dance, which is something they love to do. Dancing is the only thing they have left of their mother and so they make plans to dance in secret, with the help of a new friend.
Entwined is a fantastic fairytale novel about the healing powers of dance. Set in a magical world which includes a spellbound palace, an enchanted silver forest and a sinister prince, the twelve princesses dance through their sorrow and grief in a winter wonderland located beyond the magical door of a secret passage, hidden in the fireplace of their bed chamber. Here they can dance in secret; but there is a price. The sinister prince is trapped by magic and he asks the princesses to find a way to free him. The more they spend time with him, the more they learn to fear him. Like all good fairytales Entwined is a teaching tool for young girls and the moral of the tale is Beware of strangers offering favors. The magic is subtle, silvery and filigree. There are no Harry Potter like explosions of power here; the magic of Entwined is far more sophisticated than that, though it is beautifully written and each page sparkles with enchantments.
I wish the author Heather Dixon had written this as a screenplay, rather than a novel because it would make the most amazing film. Dance is such a visual art form, and while the steps are well choreographed in descriptive passages on the page, for those who have little or no dance knowledge, it might be hard to visualize. So for this reason, and because I would love to see the Silver Forest and dance pavilion brought to life, I really hope this novel gets picked up by Hollywood and turned into a cinematic experience.
Azalea is the main protagonist and the oldest sister, but my favorite character is actually Miss Bramble, second eldest and most rebellious - I can relate to her the most. Entwined is a book about dealing with the deep pain of grief in a very positive way. Dance is a healing restorative for the girls. Fathers do not always understand their daughters; family loyalties are tested during bereavement and blood ties are binding. The author is fearless in tackling these difficult topics in a very gentle and charming manner. Romance waits in the wings for the three eldest sisters; a couple of hair-raising horse rides take place and there is comfort and joy to be found in the warmth of a beautiful, book lined library. In short everything I love and can relate to is in this novel!
This is one of those books that I feel like I want to read again, immediately upon finishing it. It is also one of those beautiful novels I am going to keep to myself and guard jealously - I will not be loaning this out to anyone as I know they will want to keep it! If you like fairytales, magical novels, dancing, spellbound tea sets and all things girly then you will love reading Entwined. I highly recommend it. I cannot wait to see what Ms Dixon writes next - something equally girly and fairytale I hope, but with more horses! You can find the novel on Amazon