Series: Book One, Fairytale Keeper
Genre: Young Adult/Historical/Fairytale Retelling
Adelaide’s mother, Katrina, was the finest storyteller in all of Airsbach, a borough in the great city of Cologne, but she left one story untold, that of her daughter, that of Snow White. Snow White was a pet name Adelaide’s mother had given her. It was a name Adelaide hated, until now. Now, she would give anything to hear her mother say it once more.
A rampant fever claimed Adelaide’s mother just like a thousand others in Cologne where the people die without last rites and the dead are dumped in a vast pit outside the city walls. In an effort to save Katrina’s soul, Adelaide’s father obtains a secret funeral for his wife by bribing the parish priest, Father Soren.
Soren commits an unforgivable atrocity, pushing Adelaide toward vengeance. When Adelaide realizes that the corruption in Cologne reaches far beyond Soren, the cost of settling scores quickly escalates. Avenging the mother she lost may cost Adelaide everything she has left: her father, her friends, her first love, and maybe even her life.
Seamlessly weaving historical events and Grimm’s fairy tales into a tale of corruption and devotion, The Fairytale Keeper, leaves the reader wondering where fact ends and fiction begins. The novel paints Medieval Cologne accurately and vividly. The story develops a set of dynamic characters, casting the famous villains, heroes, and damsels of Grimm’s fairy tales into believable medieval lives. Though historically set, The Fairytale Keeper brims with timeless themes of love, loyalty, and the struggle for justice.
Adelaide's mother has lovingly nicknamed her Snow White as she tells Adelaide the story of her birth within the small village of Cologne in the 13th century. After a fever sweeps the town, Adelaide's mother perishes. Adelaide's father, a humble shoemaker scrapes together enough money to bribe the town priest, Father Soren, to give a proper funeral for her mother. When the funeral goes awry, Adelaide becomes enraged at Father Soren and begins to learn of the wrongdoings of the church, she is also set on revenge and the redemption of her mother.
I am a sucker for fairy tale retellings and could not wait to read this series. Adelaide's story is set firmly in historic reality but shows a glint of fantasy and magic here and there that would lend to the stories being woven into fairy tales through time. Through the writing medieval Cologne was brought to life along with the struggles of the people at the time. Adelaide, her family and some other townspeople are all firmly set in this installment. I immediately loved Adelaide's fiery spirit and willingness to right a wrong. I also fell in love with Ivo, a young man apprenticing as an armorer that Adelaide is friends with and grows fond of. Their beginning romance is done well, and is incredibly sweet so far. Adelaide's father and her mother's cousin, Galadriel were not as likable of characters, but their places within Adelaide's story are foreshadowed. This is only the beginning of Adelaide's story and I can not wait to see what happens with the characters as well as how more fairy tale elements are woven in with the next book, Countess Captive.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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Besides being the award-winning author of The Fairytale Keeper series, Andrea Cefalo is a self-proclaimed medievalist, hopeless bookworm, and social media junkie. She graduated with honors from Winthrop University in 2007 where she studied Medieval art history and children’s literature. The next three books in The Fairytale Keeper series—The Countess’ Captive, The Baseborn Lady, and The Traitor’s Target—will debut in 2015 and 2016. She resides in Greenville, South Carolina—ever perched before her trusty laptop—with her husband and their two border collies.
For more information please visit Andrea Cefalo’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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Intro: Adelaide’s best friend and first love, Ivo, has asked Adelaide to tell him the tale of Hansel and Gretel. But Ivo, always ready to tease Addie and try to make her laugh, isn’t being the greatest listener.
“Once Gretel was inside,” I say. “The witch intended to shut the oven and let her bake in it. Then she would eat her, too. But Gretel saw what she had in mind and said, ‘I do not know how I am to do it. How do I get in?’
“‘Foolish girl,’ said the old woman to Gretel. ‘The door is big enough. Just look, I can get in myself!’ She crept up and thrust her head into the oven. Then Gretel gave her a push that drove her far into the oven, shut the iron door, and fastened the bolt. Oh, how horribly she howled—”
Ivo interrupts me with a great AWOOOO!!!
A huddle of women turn their wimpled heads, their faces screwed up.
“Are you mad?” I ask through giggles. “What are you doing?”
He laughs. “I’m howling like a witch.”
“That’s not how a witch howls.”
He stops. “Oh, then how do they?”
“I don’t know.” I grab his arm and tug him away from the on-lookers. “But not like that…not like a wolf. Come on.”
“It’s the wind,” I lie. “It is getting cold.”
He shakes his head at me and howls again.
“Stop it!” I hiss and slap him in the stomach. “Lest I drop you off at St. Pantaleon’s with the rest of the lunatics.”
He flashes a wry smile. “Oh, if I was mad, you’d keep me. Wouldn’t you?”
I roll my eyes and heave a heavy sigh.
“So how does it end?” he asks.
“The story. Hansel and Gretel. What happens?”
“A wolf eats them.”
“What? No. That can’t be how it ends.”
“No.” I cross my arms. “You don’t get to know how it ends. This is thrice you have interrupted me.”
“Oho,” he guffaws. “But I promise I will be a good boy if you’ll tell me the end.” He raises his flaxen eyebrows, eyes brimming with mischief. “Or I could howl some more.”
“The witch burned to death.”
“And…” he prods.
”And?” I repeat in a mocking tone.
“What about the father and the stepmother?” he asks.
“What do you think happens to them?”
He is silent for a heartbeat, squinting an eye and pursing his lips. “I think…the father and the stepmother go find them,” he says. “Gretel tosses her in the oven. They eat the house, and they live happily ever after. Am I close?”
“So what really happened?”
“Nothing really happened,” I say. “It’s just a story.”
“You know what I mean, Addie. How does it really end?”
“The children find gold and jewels, and then they make their way back to the father. The stepmother was already dead. They lived happily ever after.”
“Huh.” There is a hint of disappointment in his voice.
“I think I like your ending better,” I admit.
“Did they eat the house first?” he asks.
He shakes his head, eyes wide with feigned shock. “I would have most certainly eaten the house.”
I give a sniff of laughter. “Me too.”