The Fairest of Them All, Carolyn Turgeon
In this kingdom, only one fairy tale can end with happily ever after.
In an enchanted forest, the maiden Rapunzel’s beautiful voice captivates a young prince hunting nearby. Overcome, he climbs her long golden hair to her tower and they spend an afternoon of passion together, but by nightfall the prince must return to his kingdom, and his betrothed.
Now king, he weds his intended and the kingdom rejoices when a daughter named Snow White is born. Beyond the castle walls, Rapunzel waits in her crumbling tower, gathering news of her beloved from those who come to her seeking wisdom. She tries to mend her broken heart but her love lingers, pulsing in the magic tendrils of her hair.
The king, too, is haunted by his memories, but after his queen’s mysterious death, he is finally able to follow his heart into the darkness of the forest. But can Rapunzel trade the shadows of the forest for the castle and be the innocent beauty he remembers?
My second read of 2014! See? Year’s off to a good start. I had previously read Carolyn Turgeon’s Mermaid, which is (obviously) a retelling of Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, with more adult (i.e. sexual) themes. This novel takes a similar approach with the story, only this time, combining the stories of Rapunzel and Snow White. As with Mermaid, I’m having a difficult time deciding if this is a book marketed to adults or the YA crowd, but regardless, it’s a good read with some unexpected twists. To be honest there are some similarities to other contemporary retellings (Rapunzel’s hair has magic powers, as it does in Disney’s Tangled), but beyond the initial recognition, there’s nothing terribly distracting about it from the rest of the story.
This novel absolutely engulfed me, as I’ve read the majority of it within the span of a few hours. Turgeon’s writing, from these two novels anyway, can easily draw a reader in to get lost in her Euro-fantasy worlds for a while.