Author: Heather Dixon
Publish Date: April 2011
Source: Different Area Code Tours
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.
The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.
My Thoughts: I did not know this book was a fairytale re-telling. I've never heard the 12 Dancing Princesses so I am not sure if it was better that I wasn't familiar with it or not. I thought this book was spectacular!
Azalea is the oldest of 12 princesses, all of whom are named after flowers. The story starts with Azalea getting ready for the Yuletide Ball. Her mother is very ill and with child and calls Azalea to her room where she makes Azalea promise to take care of her sisters. Shortly after that, during the Ball, Azalea's mother dies in childbirth.
The princesses must adjust to life without their fun-loving mother. Their father, the King, has put the castle in mourning and has forbidden the girls to dance. He then leaves for war. While he is gone, the girls find a hidden passage that takes them to a silvery forest with a beautiful pavilion. There they meet Keeper and he allows them to dance there every night. However, their dancing comes at a price. A price they don't realize until it is too late.
I loved this story. I thought the description of the silver forest, the pavilion and the Keeper were perfect! Keeper reminded me of a big, nasty spider snaring the girls in his web. He was super creepy and I despised his character from the beginning.
I loved all the princesses. Azalea was strong, independent and stubborn. However, Bramble was my favorite for sure! She was snarky, adventuresome and outspoken. I enjoyed her character throughout the whole book. Clover was so sweet, innocent and pure. I could easily picture her and connect with her (although I am far from innocent).
I also enjoyed all the gentlement that came to try to solve the riddle of where the princesses were dancing. Lord Bradford is protective, sweet, handsome and so much more. Lord Teddy is just goofy! He was so fun to read about and I think he was a perfect match for Bramble. Minister Fairweller made me want to wipe my hands everytime one of the girls touched him because I could feel his sweaty palms! However, at the end, I liked how he fit into the family.
The King was all around a very well formed character. I started out hating him. He was cold, stiff and rude. I felt he didn't care about his girls at all and just wanted to smack him. As the story evolves, I found myself liking him more and more and feeling sorry for him. By the end, I thought he was wonderful!