About the Book (from the author's website)
"The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower...
Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.
Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again—this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.
The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight—Sir Gerek—Rapunzel, in turn, rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to him than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?
As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery are about to be revealed after seventeen years. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?"
Releases November 17th!
I enjoy Melanie Dickerson's blend of adventure and fairy-tale favorites. The Golden Braid doesn't completely turn the story of Rapunzel on its head, as there are a lot of familiar elements embedded in this retelling, but she does take it on a merry dance with some fun twists (including connections to her previous retellings, especially The Princess Spy), unique personalities, and a good cast of secondary characters.
Of course, it's Rapunzel and Sir Gerek who steal the show! Well...and Rapunzel's mother. The three of them form a complicated braid of emotions and shifting loyalties. From their first danger-filled introduction on the road to Hagenheim, to the bitter, suspense-filled end, their story is one of secrets and suspicions.
I'm a little torn about the middle of the story. Part of me would have liked even more glimpses into the blossoming friendship and romance - more time with the hero and heroine together. Another part of me would have liked a bit more "new" tension in the outside circumstances (which is only a potential problem for those who are familiar with the plot of The Princess Spy). But still, there's a continuous, underlying thread of suspense that's unique to Rapunzel's situation, and it is interesting seeing one story's plot from another character's point of view.
This latest retelling from Dickerson has a very tender romance when all is said and done, and for that, I say bravo! By the end I was definitely rooting for the hero and hanging on for the crazy ride on the road to a fairy-tale-worthy resolution. There's a sweet message about love seeing beyond social status and never giving up while there's still hope. Fans of Dickerson's writing and sweet fairy tales with a dash of danger should enjoy meeting the girl with the golden braid.
*With thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*