Monday, 26 October 2015

Review: The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

Author: Melanie Dickerson
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling, Christian Fiction, Children's Fiction, Fantasy
Page Length: 368 Pages
Publication Date: November 17th, 2015
Publishers: Thomas Nelson
Goodreads | Amazon
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?

I grew up reading fairy tales. Princess, Prince Charming, fairies, Castle, Knights, true love and Magic ... Ah, I believed in every single word of Disney and Grimm's brothers and wished to have my own 'happily-ever-after'. My heart was broken when my parents told me that Magic is a myth just like the existence of Santa Claus. A part of me accepted that terrifying truth, learnt All I need is Faith, trust, and Prayers not the Pixie dust but, the other half of me still loves to curl up in bed with a fairy tale and to immerse myself in that magical world called 'Far Away'. A recent TTT (a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) on Fairy tale retellings introduced me to various authors who write fairy tale retelling novels and Melanie Dickerson was one among them, a Christian fiction author who writes medieval fairy tale romances. The pretty covers of her books grabbed my attention immediately. I was curious to read a fairy tale as a Christian Fiction and wished to find out how she deals with all the evil and sorcery things in the children's book.

Thanks, Net Galley and Thomas Nelson for a copy of 'The Golden Braid'.

First things first- Impressed! She has done a terrific job at describing how dreams come true by faith, trust, and the hope in the Lord. It teaches that we can overcome the tribulations by Prayers and belief in God. I definitely want my children to read Melanie Dickerson books. 

'The Golden Braid' is a retelling of 'Rapunzel' from Grimm's fairy tales. Rapunzel- a pretty maiden with beautiful blue eyes and ankle length blond hair. She sings beautifully and is also good at making new songs, painting and throwing a knife. Rapunzel has a hankering for learning to read and write. But, her mother simply does not allow it. She is not permitted to make friends. Mother disapproves of all the men as well. Rapunzel is smothered by their isolated life and is desperate for freedom. Surprisingly, I liked Melanie's Rapunzel. I was rooting for her from the beginning, felt sad whenever Gothel tried to snatch her life away from her, wanted Rapunzel to be brave, to stand up for herself and was overjoyed when she finally got what she truly deserved. It was a pleasure to read Rapunzel's transformation as an Independent, courageous woman from a weak, unsecured and naive maiden.

I liked Gerek- Rapunzel's true love. He is a chivalrous, valiant, noble, God-fearing knight. His pitiful childhood still haunts him, he is flustered always and unable to make a wise decision. Rapunzel helps him to make the choices and reminds that he can decide his future, not to worry about being overshadowed by the family's misfortune. Wise decision! The entire story gives such small, but chief lessons to us. Good things to learn from the Hero, not just mere tricks, fights, and romance. 

You will not find any evil lurking in the darkness in this book. The story behind each character's behavior is clearly written, explains what made them choose the wrong path and how pathetically they ended up in life. I am sure every reader will enjoy reading this beautiful book. I liked Melanie Dickerson's writing; easy-to-read and understand, the vivid descriptions take you to a medieval period and lets to enjoy it completely. A couple of Bible verses are used, it will bring hope and comfort to readers too. There are no out-of-the-world theories in the book, but the whole story is believable, narrated through convincing incidents and Verses from The Holy Bible are used instead of the usual hocus-pocus sayings in fairytales. Thus, it makes an apt book for Children, can be enjoyed by adults as well. You do not need to be worried about little minds being spoiled by daft magic beliefs. The characters are likable and interesting. Many intriguing stories are intertwined in this book with interesting twists and a happy ending as promised.

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson is a beautiful, heartwarming fairy tale retelling novel. The story is written from Rapunzel and Garek's perspectives, so you get a detailed insight into their mind and understand them properly. The elements of love, compassion, forgiveness, Faith in the Lord, and family are beautifully blended together in the book. Enjoyable from start to the end! I am looking forward to picking up more Melanie Dickerson's medieval fairy tales. Recommended to all, especially  to Children and adults who enjoy Fairy tales or Christian Fictions.

My Rating: 5/5 (Perfect)
Happy Reading!