on November 17th 2015
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The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.
Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.
Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again—this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.
The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight—Sir Gerek—Rapunzel, in turn, rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to him than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?
As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery are about to be revealed after seventeen years. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?
¬¬Reviewed by Monique¬¬
THE GOLDEN BRAID is a truly enchanting medieval retelling of the classic fairy tale!
After yet another young man proposes to Rapunzel, she and her mother have been in Ottelfelt for only 6 months, but they will be moving again, this time to the larger town of Hagenheim. Rapunzel doesn’t want to move, however this time, she might be able to realise her dream: learning to read. On their way, they are attacked by brigands, and Sir Gerek, a knight who was passing by, hears their cries for help, and rescues them. Later on, it’s Rapunzel’s turn to rescue Gerek with her skilful use of a knife. But Gerek is injured, and they stop at a monastery until he heals, where, albeit reluctantly at first, Gerek teaches Rapunzel to read.
THE GOLDEN BRAID is worth reading if only for its remarkable historical accuracy; I often avoid medieval historical romances because they are often the author’s interpretation of the Middle Ages, but it’s not the case here. Ms. Dickerson paints a vivid portrait of ordinary life in 1413 Germany. There is no sex, and there are references to God, and again I must praise Ms. Dickerson for remaining faithful to the era’s mores. On the other hand, what you have is great storytelling, wonderful period details, and enticing and complex characters. Rapunzel is brave, resourceful, and clever, and Gerek is a noble knight. He takes a bit longer to warm up to, but with good reason. The romance builds slowly, but very convincingly, there is political intrigue, and quite a bit of action. I also loved how the author preserves the medieval tone in the dialogues, never reverting to modern speech but still never making it sound stilted or stiff. Melanie Dickerson was a new author to me, and I will be looking forward to reading more of her stories!
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book.