Snow White and Rose Red live on the edge of the forest that conceals the elusive border of Faerie. They know enough about Faerie lands and mortal magic to be concerned when they find two human sorcerers setting spells near the border. And when the kindly, intelligent black bear wanders into their cottage some months later, they realize the connection between his plight and the sorcery they saw in the forest. This romantic version of the classic fairy tale features an updated introduction by its editor, Terri Windling.
Wrede's ( Caught in Crystal ) romantic and charming retelling of the Brothers Grimm tale is the fourth in this series. In the village of Mortlak, near the river Thames, during the reign of Elizabeth I, live the Widow Arden and her two daughters, Blanche and Rosamund. The widow, who supports her family by selling herbs and making healing potions, lives in fear of being accused of witchcraft. Her daughters gather the herbs she needs, sometimes crossing into the realm of Faerie, one of whose borders lies in the forest nearby. Also residing in Mortlak is the real-life Doctor Dee, astrologer to the Queen, who with his friend Edward Kelly seeks to harness the magic of Faerie. Their efforts turn Hugh, one of the half-human sons of the queen of Faerie, into a bear. With the aid of the widow and her daughters, John, the elder Faerie prince, tries to disenchant his brother, who has crossed over to the mortal world. John is initially thwarted in his efforts by Madini, head of a faction in Faerie that seeks complete separation from the mortal domain. In putting her twist on the classic tale, Wrede uses language appropriate to the period and nicely evokes both medieval England and a magic land.
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February 18, 2009
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