Entwined by Heather Dixon
Entwined, by Heather Dixon, is a new take on the fairytale of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” The twelve sisters live in the kingdom of Eathesbury where their father the king rules with a firm and practical hand. Their mother loves to dance, and her joy and optimism are passed down to her eldest daughter, Azalea. On the eve of her death, their mother makes Azalea promise upon a silver handkerchief that she will take care of her sisters; and Azalea does just that, with the fulfillment of her promise being enforced by the magic of the silver handkerchief.
In Eathesbury, magic still exists, but it is in danger of extinction. When the girls’ mother was alive, she told Azalea of an even stronger magic that would never die--the magic that only comes from your soul, the essence of who you are and the beliefs in which you put your faith. When the twelve sisters discover a hidden passageway in their chamber, they walk through an enchanted silver forest that takes them to a ballroom where they may dance without their strict and cold father finding out, for dancing is forbidden to the girls during the official mourning period. Yet because dancing fills the girls with thoughts and memories of their mother, the girls continue to return to the ballroom in the enchanted silver forest and to the mysterious, attractive Keeper who lives there.
One of my favorite fairytales from childhood, the story of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” is given dimension by Heather Dixon, who incorporates death and loss and the renewal and peace that follows when you learn to value the relationships with those you still have in this life. She illustrates how joy may be found in the simple things and that love often appears in the unlikeliest of places in the unlikeliest of times. The magic, romance, adventure, and humor of the story make Entwined a tale worth reading--and reading again.