By Heather Dixon
Greenwillow Books, 2011.
In a retelling of the old fairy tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, twelve royal sisters are heartbroken when their loving mother passes away. Their father, the King, is emotionally distant, and so they cling even closer together and use dancing as an escape. When their dancing is forbidden, the girls discover a magical passageway and attend enchanted balls every night. However, there is something strange about the Keeper of the magical courts, and the girls find themselves caught tightly in the pull of his spelled kingdom.
As there are many versions of the story The Twelve Dancing Princesses, I picked up Heather Dixon's without many expectations, despite the attractive cover. I was amazed to discover the most beautiful and captivating rendition of the fairy tale I have yet read. Dixon remains very true to the original tale but elaborates in the most unexpected and interesting ways. Excellent, elegant writing aside, the best aspect of the book is the strength of the character development--the characters are interesting, complex, and seem to live and breathe. Coming from a family with many sisters of my own, Dixon captured the closeness of family, and this is their story.