Book Review by Debbie Winkler
Target Age Group: teens
My Rating: 4/5 stars, A Rather Bizarre Retelling of Snow White
Jessica never really knew what it was like to have a family. Her mother died giving birth to her and her father was not interested in having a daughter. She saw her father once a year when he did his inspection and the rest of the time she had the run of the Welsh estate that belonged to the duke, her father. More then a bit of a tomboy, Jessica did not come to the notice of her father and her coldly beautiful new stepmother until she accused one of the sons of the nobility of attacking her. Suddenly, it was not okay for Jessica to run around playing with the other boys. Instead, she was under the tutelage of her stepmother, who was determined to instruct her on everything she needed to know about being a lady. However, her stepmother quickly grew jealous of Jess’ beauty and, with her father gone, locked her away with only a few mice for company. Warned by her stepmother’s minstrel, Jess managed to flee for London when her stepmother’s jealousy was replaced with the belief that she could only have a child if she had Jess’ heart.
Jess was only in London for a few moments when all of her money was stolen. Bereft and alone, she took refuge in an alley, until a cat-like girl attacked her and kidnapped her. When Jess awoke she was stunned to see herself surrounded by a group of animal-like humans. There was Chauncey, the rat-like leader of the ragtag band; Cat, the only girl who had attacked Jess in the alley and seemed determined to hate her; Sparrow, a short, plump boy who was very quiet; Raven, a tall, dark and handsome fellow who never seemed to say anything; and Mouser, who was as elegant as the high-born lords of London. Jess, or Snow as she now called herself, settled into her peculiar new life and found that she was happier as a serving maid than as a duke’s daughter. But her stepmother did not give up easily and was ready to use any trick to get Jess to participate in her new “experiment”…
This was a very peculiar adaptation of Snow White, but it was still very enjoyable. Snow herself is still much the same, but the 7 dwarfs are turned into the 5 Lonely Ones (the animal-like people described above), the magic mirror is the minstrel and the wicked stepmother is a scientist of sorts who actually created the Lonely Ones. Even though the details of the story were quite different, it is still a happily ever after tale and I enjoyed the different twists and turns that the author took in creating the tale. If you enjoy fairy tales, then you will enjoy this book!
This book contains some mature situations including attempted rape, experimentation on humans and animals, attempted murder, robbery, kidnapping and other dark moments, but it is written for teens and completely appropriate for children ages 12 and up.