Review Blog

Sep 30 2015

Dearest by Alethea Kontis

cover image

Woodcutter Sisters bk 3. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. ISBN 9780544074071
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Fairy tales retold. The third in the Woodcutter Sisters series, following Enchanted and Hero is a delightful retelling primarily of The wild swans, but with some other fairy tales incorporated into the tale. This is Friday's story, the loving and giving child of the old rhyme:
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is blithe and bonny and good and gay.

After a huge ocean has devastated the kingdom, Friday is working with refugee children at her sister's palace. She stumbles across seven sleeping brothers in a tower and when she lays eyes on Tristan, knows that he is her true love. But the brothers have been cursed - each day they turn into swans.
What is so good about this series is the fact that the book is a companion volume. The reader does not have to have read, or even remember, the other books, to fully enjoy this one. Friday lives up to her description of being loving and giving, helping the homeless, working out ways to feed many people and giving each child a sense of worth. However she is also very clever and she manages to work out a way around the curse, using excellent problem solving skills and organising everyone to help out.
This is a very rewarding series to read. The heroines are all intelligent and capable and the fairy tale roots are woven so cleverly that they bring a fresh outlook to a familiar story. Dearest has an engrossing narrative and an enticing romance. It is sure to appeal to anyone who enjoys the retelling of fairy tales.
Pat Pledger

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