Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Little Red Riding Hood... more than a children's story this time

I love finding a book that I’m excited to write about!   This is just such a book!  It has everything I look for in a story—dynamic interesting characters, fascinating and complex plot (almost too complex at one point… but more on that later) and even a great setting.  

What attracted me to the book first was that it was obviously a retelling of a very old story: Little Red Riding Hood.  You may remember that I LOVED the spin on fairy tales that Cindy C Bennett did (my review of them is {HERE}) so this peaked my interest at first glance… but it was $5 and we all know I don’t spend $5 easily, lol!  So I put it off.  Much later I was given some birthday gift cards by my dear friends (y’all are awesome!) and so I revisited this book.  

It wasn’t until the second visit that I saw what might have had me buying even before the gift cards were given…. An insight into the author’s vision for the book.  I read the “sample” that Amazon provides and it's a forward by the author explaining the research she put into making the tale authentic to the time period in which it was supposedly set in (18th century France).  Now I was really hooked… I HAD to read it!

To the things that made it amazing:

Dynamic interesting characters.  Scarlette is amazing.  She’s strong and independent.  Despite having emotionally leaned on her grandmother through many tough times, when her grandmother disappears Scarlette quickly learns to fend for herself.  She is the type of person who will do almost anything to protect and help the ones she loves.

Fran├žois… my only problem with him is that Scarlette didn’t seem to see how amazing he was until near the end.  Strong and handsome, a bit rough around the edges.  I think it speaks to a believable character in Scarlette that she doesn’t forgive him quickly, but I did!

The plot was so good!  Why?  Because it had all the elements of the 4 page children’s story we’ve all heard, but told in so much vivid detail and in such a way that it still left you guessing.  For one thing… you assume the wolf to be a werewolf in this version, but who is he?  No strange looking grandmother character in the bed here, this wolf could lurk anywhere (and does).  Some of the old versions tell of the grandmother being eaten and that follows here, but with a slightly different twist.  And of course the woodcutter to save the day… you just don’t ever know when it will happen.

One of the things that made this suspenseful is that there are SO many old versions of the story that you have no idea at any time which she will be following.  And when it is revealed who the werewolf is and how it came to haunt their lands things get very complicated.  However, Juroe definitely keeps to the main moral of the story… don’t trust someone you only just met, no matter how innocent they appear. 

Captivating and fascinating… definitely 2 thumbs up from me!

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