Today I have a review of The Fairytale Keeper by Andrea Cefalo! You can also take the Fairytale Keeper Playbuzz quiz and enter to win a Fairytale Keeper Clutch Purse & $20 Amazon Gift Card below, following the review and the info.
I happen to love fairytales, and not just the happy ending ones, but even the true-to-form original Grimm tales. Therefore, I love any retellings, awakenings, fracturing, or gentle nods to them as well. I like happy endings and not so happy endings. I love the history that creeps behind them and the Old World feel that resonates in my modern soul.
When I hear about The Fairytale Keeper series by Andrea Cefalo, and saw the goregous cover, I was sold on reading them. In hoping to love them, I immediately did so from the first few pages. As a mom who has loved to read fairytales to my kids since they were just very little in hopes to spark their imagination, I was touched by the beginning.
“I cannot write your story, Snow White. Only you can write your story.”
Adelaide’s mother tells her stories when she is young and calls her Snow White for a nickname. But her mother dies in medieval time from the plague, and though her father does financial better than most as a shoemaker, he still has to bribe a priest to give her mother a proper funeral and pyre. The situation doesn’t quite go so well and Adelaide is forever changed, not only by the death of her mother, but by the degradation of the body at the burial and the church’s politics and lack of compassion. We see Adelaide emerge from the reckless fire of her mother’s pyre as a Phoenix on a mission of revenge and retribution. She becomes a strong-willed, intelligent, and passionate protagonist that all young women can admire.
The real wonderful thing about this novel is how she portrays the relationships between Adelaide and others: with her father (the good and the bad feelings), Galadreil (who becomes her step-mother-see the tie-in…he’s a cobbler, she relates to Cinderella), her best friend Ivo, who becomes her Prince. In the relationships in the novel, we see where weaknesses are made strong, or people are torn apart, in each person with the accompaniment of another character. We see the loyalty, love, and dedication, yet also the tragic fight for Adelaide to receive this back, when all else in middle ages Cologne is suspect, corrupt, and falling to pieces.
If you are looking for a straight retelling of Snow White, that isn’t what this novel or series is about though. Instead the author is much more original as she takes pieces of various fairytales, the ones that Adelaide’s mother told her, and intertwines them into the story. Adelaide is called “little Snow White” and wants to save her late mother (her Queen, who dies and leaves her with an evil witch–just like in the fairytale) from the big bad wolf (taken from Red Riding Hood…the priest, the plague, the terrible burial), her dad is a shoemaker (an ode in a roundabout way to The Elves and the Shoemaker as well as Cinderella), Galadreil who has a similar story to her life as Cinderella (a noblewoman who appears in a dirty dress and has had a hard childhood- yet doesn’t becomes the witch or the evil step-mom), and Ivo who gives the novel a sweet romance to enjoy as he is Adelaide’s Prince Charming. You’ll enjoy a retelling of Hansel and Gretel as well.
You’ll find nuggets of fairytales distributed throughout if you tune in to your reading. It made it quite a fun addition to the dark back story of how awful the life, and the church, was in the 13th century, as well as the underlying “moral” of the story of what revenge can cost someone on a mission to for it. By the end, there is still anger and some dark places in Adelaide’s heart, but she does fine her solace too in regards to telling her own story and keeping her mom alive in her heart by keeping the fairytales alive. Andrea writes with a good mixture of the dark of Grimm’s tales and the more lighter side of Perrault’s versions.
I enjoyed Andrea’s fluid and decadent sentences, her historical detail in terms of setting-places, food, dress, as well as her character development, including how she crafted their emotions to make us connect to them, and her overall plot, which was Adelaide’s journey. It was original and imaginative, descriptive, and absorbing.
I felt like I was thrust back in time not only to my younger years, but to the medieval ages. I couldn’t put the book down and truly can’t wait to dive into the next one in the series. Highly recommended for medievalists as well as fairytale connoisseurs!
Read the First Chapter—> http://andreacefalo.com/book-one-the-fairytale-keeper/free-first-chapter/
Intro: Adelaide’sbest 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.”
“Your cheeks are red,” he remarks.
“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.”
Intro: Adelaide and her Father are imprisoned in the North Tower, where at best, men are locked away and forgotten, and at worst, they are interrogated and tortured. The Archbishop of Cologne, suspecting the beginnings of revolt in his city, comes to question Adelaide.
I do not know how long I am in the dark. Shrill screams echo through the hallway, and I shudder with fear, thinking every one of them belongs to Father. It is the most wretched feeling, worse than the last moments of Mama’s life, for I can do nothing to help him except pray. And so I do, until my knees are raw from the damp stone floor.
The cell opens, and just outside the frame of the door stands the archbishop.
It is true. He is here.
He is a slight man with icy, scheming eyes and thin lips. I sink to my knees, prepared to beg.
“I hear you make trouble in my city,” he says, his accent remarkably Roman. “I am good at dealing with troublemakers.”
“Please, I beg you to have mercy. Father and I tried to go to your cathedral, but—”
“I have not asked you to speak,” he interrupts.
“She is feisty, Your Excellency,” pipes the guard who caught me. “Kicks like a mule and bites like a dog.”
The archbishop gives a slow turn of his head, and the guard’s face goes white. “Leave us.”
The guards bow and hasten from the room. The door to my cell claps closed behind them.
The archbishop gesture languidly. “Do you know what happens in this tower?”
“Yes, Your Excellency.”
“Do you love your father?”
“Yes, Your Excellency!”
“Then you would save him—if you could?”
“Yes, Your Excellency!”
“Does your father urge rebellion upon the church?”
“Your Excellency, if I may explain—”
“Yes or no.”
“No, Your Excellency, he tries to stop them.”
He raises a silver eyebrow. “So you know of plots?”
I have said too much.
“I, I have overheard a stranger’s whispers, Excellency, but also overheard my father tell this man that he shall go to church. My father has no desire to see a rebellion.”
“Of course you would defend your father. I shall have to find ways to get the truth from him, if I cannot get it from you.” He pivots toward the door.
I surge forward, clutching his robe. “I swear it on my mother’s soul, Your Excellency! He is innocent!”
He turns, regarding me with an indifference that terrifies me. “Perhaps you tell the truth about your father’s innocence, but I know you lie of something else. You know who incites the rebellion, and yet you keep it from me. For this, you and your father shall be punished. But…I can be merciful. If you tell me who incites the rebellion, then your punishments shall be light.”
I stall, hoping a brilliant lie shall come to me. A lie that he shan’t see through. A lie that can save us all. But nothing comes.
“His name is Elias, Excellency.” I avert my gaze, wishing I had never mentioned this stranger at all, wishing I had never overheard his conversation. But more than anything, I hope I have saved my father.
“You shall confess that your father ordered you to abandon the church, and tell no one of any other story, or I shall have to change my mind about your father’s punishment.”
I wonder if he is seeking a confession in order to punish us as heretics and that all of his other promises are lies.
“But that is not the truth, Excellency. It was—”
“Ah, but, stupid, stupid girl, I do not care.” He meets my eyes, no hint of unease. “And those are the kinds of words that might make my men want to drive a hot poker up your father’s rectum and burn you both as heretics.”
I swallow hard. “Then I shall say whatever pleases you, Excellency.”
“Perhaps you aren’t so stupid after all.”
Re-Release Date: February 1, 2015
Scarlet Primrose Press
Formats: eBook; Paperback
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.
Praise for The Fairytale Keeper~
“A…resonant tale set late in the 13th century… with unexpected plot twists. An engaging story of revenge.” –Publisher’s Weekly
“Great historical fiction. Strong emotion injected into almost every page.” –Amazon Vine Reviewer
“…a unique twist on the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Part fairy tale retelling, part historical fiction… The Fairytale Keeper is a story of corruption.” -Copperfield Historical Fiction Review
“The story that Cefalo weaves is intriguing and leaves you hanging on, wanting more.” -Hooked to Books Book Review Blog
“…it doesn’t feel like any retelling. Because it’s not. The Fairytale Keeper is its own unique story…very entertaining, containing a strong female role, a sweet romance, and much more.” -Lulu The Bookworm Book Review Blog
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About the Author Andrea Cefalo~
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.
Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/thefairytalekeeperblogtour/
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