Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
The Brothers Grimm tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses is vibrantly retold and set in a fictionalized nineteenth-century Europe. Galen, a soldier (and knitter) returning home from war, encounters an old woman who gives him an invisibility cloak and yarn possessing magical powers. While working as a gardener at the palace, he encounters the princess, Rose, and her 11 younger sisters. Because of a secret bargain their mother made with the evil King Under Stone, the princesses are cursed to dance each night till their shoes are worn ragged. Aided by the good magic held in his yarn, Galen solves the puzzle that has stumped many a prince and earns Rose’s love and hand in marriage. Though cursed and in need of rescue, the sisters are feisty and cunning—not passive victims of their fate. Galen’s magical knitting patterns will appeal to teens fond of this trendy hobby. This is a well-realized and fast-paced fantasy-romance that will find favor among fans of fairy tales, feisty heroines and dashing young men with strength, cunning, and sensitivity.
This book is one of my all time favorites. It was the first book I read by this author, and I fell in love with her beautiful writing. 'Princess of the Midnight Ball' is a fresh look on the fairy tale 'The Worn-out Dancing Slippers'. It takes place in the early 19th century, in a fictional town based off of Germany. One of the main characters is Rose, eldest of twelve sisters, all of whom are forced to dance every night based on a deal their mother made with a sorcerer. The second leading character is Galen, a young man who has lived all his life on the battlefield. When the war finally ends, he goes to his only remaining family-who just happen to work at the palace.
What makes this book so wonderful is the amazing way the author changes the fairy tale into a reasonable story. One thing I did not love about the original fairy tale is the nightly dances. Who are these princes? Why do the princesses sneak out every night just to dance? And how do they sneak out, with their rooms heavily guarded and locked each night? With clever ideas, Jessica Day George shapes a fairy tale full of questions into a marvelous tale of love and adventure.
I'd tell any lover of romance, fantasy, or history to pick up this wonderful novel!!!
Market: Young Adult
Sensuality: Mild (main characters get married at the end)