Friday, June 8, 2012

Everything Old is New Again

It's always fun to see a classic story play out in a modern setting.  Briar Rose, by Jane Yolen, offers an unconventional interpretation of the Sleeping Beauty myth that combines chilling Holocaust history with a modern search for identity.  After her beloved byt mysterious grandmother's death, Becca, a serene young journalist, is drawn into a seemingly inconclusive hunt for her family history.  To go on, she has only a few documents and the almost-fairy tales her grandmother told her constantly. 
In this version of Sleeping Beauty, everyone fell asleep along with the Princess, and only she was lucky enough to wake up.  Becca's journey to her grandmother's "castle" involves Polish friends, a sneaky romance, and detective work.  Finally she encounters a narrator who can tell her grandmother's true story--and his own.  Briar Rose incorporates brief flashbacks from the protagonist's childhood of the many times her grandmother told her story, and the entire book is infused with an enigmatic mystique and touches of humor that drew me in.

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