Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Thomas Dunne Books
ISBN-10: 1250047536 Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Fairy-Tale Retellings
The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love
French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens…
After Margherita’s father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.
Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.
Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.
Buy the Book
Barnes & Noble
History, fairy tale and magic combine in this enchanting story to tell about the lives of three extraordinary women. Charlotte-Rose de la Force was a lady in waiting in the court of Louis XIV, the Sun King. After a few too many scandalous love affairs, she is forced to retire into a strict abbey. While at the abbey, Charlotte-Rose meets one Sister, Sœur Seraphina, who takes her under her wing while doing garden chores and tells Charlotte-Rose the story of the Petrosinella and la Strega. Charlotte Rose, Sœur Seraphina and Petrosinella all share something in common and find comfort within the story. The beautiful story also prompts Charlotte-Rose to write it down, becomming the author of the story later known as Rapunzel.
I love stories like this, not only a fairy tale retelling, but the history behind the writing of the fairy tale and a bit of magic. I was intrigued by each of the women's stories as they were unraveled. Charlotte-Rose de la Force continually lived up to her name, continually pushing the boundaries for a woman of her time. La Strega, or Selena is a character that I ended up completely understanding, even though she was the witch. Petrosinella or Margherita, was the perfect Rapunzel, but one that saved herself in the end. The way that all of these characters stories were told, jumping back and forth through time, just kept me wanting more and constantly saying ' but what happened next?' The fairy tale was perfect, but even more I enjoyed the real history behind it's writer, I had no idea of the complicated origins of the story. The Court of the Sun King was also brought alive through Charlotte-Rose's eyes as Louis XIV grows up, goes through several mistresses and makes difficult decisions of religion.
A must read for historical fiction and fairy tale fans!
Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling & award-winning author of thirty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both adults and children. She was recently voted one of Australia’s Favourite 20 Novelists, and has been called ‘one of the finest writers of this generation. She is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers, and has told stories to both children and adults all over the world.
Her most recent book for adults is a historical novel called ‘The Wild Girl’, which tells the true, untold love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world’s most famous fairy tales. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, ‘The Wild Girl’ is a story of love, war, heartbreak, and the redemptive power of storytelling, and was named the Most Memorable Love Story of 2013.
She is probably most famous for ‘Bitter Greens’, a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale interwoven with the dramatic life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer, Charlotte-Rose de la Force. ‘Bitter Greens’ has been called ‘the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter’, and has been nominated for a Norma K. Hemming Award, the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Fiction, and a Ditmar Award.
Her most recent book for children is ‘Grumpy Grandpa’, a charming picture book that shows people are not always what they seem.
Since ‘The Witches of Eileanan’ was named a Best First Novel of 1998 by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for numerous awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Chain of Charms series – beginning with ‘The Gypsy Crown’ – which tells of the adventures of two Romany children in the time of the English Civil War. Book 5 of the series, ‘The Lightning Bolt’, was also a CBCA Notable Book.
Kate’s books have been published in 14 countries around the world, including the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. She is currently undertaking a doctorate in fairytale retellings at the University of Technology, having already completed a BA in Literature and a MA in Creative Writing.
Kate is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, ‘A Mother’s Offering to her Children’. She lives by the sea in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.
For more information please visit Kate Forsyth’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.