Entwined, by Heather Dixon.
One day, I was reading this blog
. This blog
linked to that blog
, and by diligently perusing that blog (which is marvelous) I discovered that the blogger had written a book, which book was in the possession of the library. Therefore I checked it out, and enjoyed it thoroughly. It is frothy, true; it is silly; it is splendid. There is a great need for light (very light, I must stress; so light it almost floats away), innocent fiction that appeals to modern
young girls. (Modern is stressed, because although it would be much better if we could get them all reading Charlotte Mary Yonge, Louisa Alcott, Jane Austen, and the Brontes, there is no hope that we will. Just none. Zero. We might succeed in getting some people to read them, but for the mass of teenage girls there is no hope that they will begin to read those writers for anything but school.)
This book is a Victorian-oid telling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. It is not set in England, as far as I can tell, though there is a Parliamentary government, trains as a new technology, extended periods of gloomy mourning, and two horses named Dickens and Thackeray, if I remember correctly. At any rate, there is a King, which would rather rule it out being set in Victorian England in the strict sense. The book focuses primarily on the eldest Princess, Azalea. I had better list all the names of the princesses here, and I recommend that you note down the information now; it will be easier to keep track, since the book nowhere lists all of them together.
In order of oldest to youngest: Azalea, Bramble, Clover, Delphinium, Eve, Flora, Goldenrod, Hollyhock, Ivy, Jessamine, Kale, and Lily.
Moral problems are almost nil. It treats the large family lovingly (the author was a member of a large family herself – I am sure she is a Mormon, by the way, since she apparently grew up in Salt Lake City and attended BYU), is chaste, etc. The girls are initially disrespectful to their rather stern father, but near the end of the book this problem is resolved. There is some kissing, no real religion (which is the usual case in fairy tales, so I don’t consider this a problem) and the villain’s attitude to Azalea has some unpleasant undertones. This book is probably appropriate for 12+. One odd thing about the book; the author is apparently Mormon, and the book has a Victorian England feel, but the only reference to religion is to Mass. ???
Highly recommended if you have been reading tons of Thomas Aquinas and your brain is bursting from reading stuff like “whether the operation of contemplation is fittingly divided into a threefold movement, circular, straight and oblique?”