By: Heather Dixon
Read by: Mandy Williams
It didn’t take me long to find the core of this story, but the artful way it was written and told left me wondering how much I really knew about the story…
I felt that this story was not my style as I began listening, the Introduction describing an intricate dance step that I didn’t really understand or follow very well. But that soon changed. The story itself was written much like the dances described, beautiful, ethereal, delicate, and a little mysterious.
I was reminded of two stories: the fairytale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses and a story from The Arabian Nights (I tried looking up the title to this story, but could not find it, only succeeding in frustrating myself – I will send a prize to the reader who can identify the correct tale from the Arabian Nights, and post it in the comments below).
When Azalea’s mother dies unexpectedly, the entire palace is thrown into mourning, along with the young princesses. Their father leaves shortly after for war, resulting in a lonely existence for the girls. Azalea, having promised her mother to look after her sisters, does her best, finding a long hidden secret in the castle and unwittingly giving rise to an ancient evil that had lurked behind the walls for over two hundred years.
I really like the intricate retelling of this story. It was beautiful and moving. I actually felt tears and smiles rising against my will as I jogged on the treadmill. Azalea’s struggle with her own desires, her father, and the mysterious Keeper were understandable and heart-wrenching. So young and with so much responsibility on her shoulders (as well as a young baby), is it any wonder the way that Az, Bramble, and Clover act out the way they do? I think not.
The ending was satisfying and complete. As the narrator declared “The End”, I felt like everything was wrapped up in a way that I didn’t feel missing pieces rattling around in my head afterward. This was one of those few stories that leave you feeling satisfied and full after it’s over, and I am glad that I picked it up on a whim. Some things are just meant to be…