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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


The Golden Braid (Medieval Fairy Tale Romance #2) by Melanie Dickerson

Featuring some intriguing twists to the Rapunzel story. I wondered how 'the tower' was going to fit into plot. Dickerson has very cleverly made the tower segment seem absolutely normal and believable, complementing all that leads to that moment. On the road to the town of Hagenheim with her mother Rapunzel meets a knight, Sir Gerek, who dismisses her as a poor peasant girl. Rather annoying really, as she ended up rescuing him from bandits after he'd just rescued her from the same bandits. Now he owes her, maybe!
What Rapunzel wants more than anything is to learn to read. Gerek is placed in a position to help--which he does, reluctantly.
The refrain we all know, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair," is not used in the way and place we envisage but nevertheless is referenced in many ways and for a variety of reasons to do with a young woman's place and reputation, of being unmarried, careful and modest. All rather intriguing within the context of the supposed time.
The characters are all carefully crafted. Rapunzel's mother is a quagmire of pathological tendencies. Still Rapunzel  treats her honourably even if that is not returned. There relationship is very interesting to the point of distressing sometimes.
There are many biblical references, but once again all are appropriate for the times given that Christianity had a major and central place in the medieval world. Indeed the idea of knights being models of godly behaviour dedicated to that ideal is not unusual. Beliefs are strong and as Rapunzel grapples to read she learns via the bible. Now even this is unusual due to the cost of books, and Latin would be needed but Rapunzel is so bright she learns this as well as German.
Rapunzel is a very unusual and courageous young woman. Just how unusual becomes apparent as the story progresses, and not just her abilities, her determination to read and better herself. Rapunzel's search for God and meaning form quite a big slice of her tale.
There are some quite fascinating features of the story, resolved in really creative ways. Unfortunately at times the way through was just a tad to contrived, which for me negated those highs of originality. An enjoyable read, made richer by having to reflect about the storyline, the characters, and the way it all comes together.

A NetGalley ARC


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