Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 155 pages
Published October 2nd 2013
by David Meredith
Genre: Fantasy; Romance
What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone?
On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:
The king is dead.
The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.
It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means?
Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
This story is an examination of what happens after the happily ever ends. The blurb intrigued me because I can still hear the voice of the narrator of the Disney storybook (which I had on record as a little girl) as she pronounced, "and he carried her off to his castle in the clouds and they lived happily ever after." But really, the happily ever after is only the beginning of the story, so the premise of this novel caught my attention.
What we get in this novel is a far more realistic story than what we are used to, the humiliation and cruelty heaped on Snow White are not something you'd want to read to your children about. It leaves the princess with an insecurity that follows her into old age, where she encounters the Magic Mirror who shows Snow White her darkest secrets and memories, and also, reminds her of something she has forgotten. The mirror forces Snow White to really face her past, and the story shows us a much different woman than we expect. This is a woman who was brought low but found the strength to build a new life for herself. She claims it was all Charming's doing, but while Charming offers her strength and love, he is not the hero of the tale--or rather, he is a dual hero as Snow White is in many ways, her own hero.
I liked the depiction of both Snow White and Charming. Snow White was much as you might expect her, young in spirit, kind, but also vulnerable because of her early childhood. She has suffered a lot of loss and it has left its mark on her, yet she is not bitter or downtrodden. Just lost and unsure, but as the story progresses we do see her strength more and more. Charming was exactly what his name suggests; a sweet, kind man, patient and intelligent and very loyal. They fit this tale perfectly.
David Meredith has brought to life a much beloved fairy tale, and put a believable twist on it that fits the spirit of the original story. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read, intelligently and thoughtfully written. I'm hoping to see more twisted fairly tales from this author.
I would like to thank the author for providing me with a copy of the novel, in exchange for an honest review.