Book Review: Briar Rose

by Jane Yolen.

(Another one of Terry Windling's Fairy Tale Series.)

Instead of giving any details about her past (even her real name), a girl's grandmother always tells the slightly-altered story of Briar Rose (or Sleeping Beauty) whenever anyone asks about her past. The girl is a grown woman when the grandmother dies, first extracting a promise that she find the castle where the grandmother had slept a hundred years...

I don't want to give away too much; the plot unwinds like a really good detective novel, with the central mystery being how history affects the people you love and, by extention, you. The plotting is great, stringing you along, doling out information at exactly the right moments. I initially wondered why the granddaughter got so much attention, why the story wasn't about the grandmother, who has a much more interesting story, but that's not what the story was about...

So let me just say the grandmother arrived in the U.S. after WWII and leave it at that. I recommend it, although I doubt I'll read it as often as I have other books in the series -- but then, Schindler's List was a great movie that I'll never see again, either.