Title: The Golden Braid
Published: 17th December 2015
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Author: Melanie Dickerson
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 this knight 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 is about to be revealed after seventeen years of lies. 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?
“The Golden Braid is a delightful, page-turning retelling of the story of Rapunzel. Dickerson brings this familiar fairy tale to life with a fresh and unique plot that is full of complex characters, a sweet romance, and danger at every turn. Rapunzel’s search to understand her place in the medieval world is a timeless identity struggle that modern readers will relate to. Her growing courage and faith are inspirational and will have readers cheering her on and sad to see the story come to an end.” -Jody Hedlund, bestselling author of An Uncertain Choice
Well who doesn’t love the story of Rapunzel! ‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair’. I know I do and this is a great re-telling. Loved it from the start and didn’t want it to end. You can go in knowing the basics but it’s the authors’ own style of writing and storytelling that brings it alive and keeps you reading.
Rapunzel and her ‘mother’ are moving away yet again due to her getting more attention than her mother would like – a marriage proposal would do that. Rapunzel’s mother wants to get her away so she is out of danger from men but little does she know that by moving her she would start a chain reaction of greater changes and danger to come. On the way to a new town two robbers set upon Rapunzel and her mother. In the midst of the struggle Rapunzel prays for an angel with his flaming sword to help them. Her prayers are answered in the form of Gerek, a knight of the realm, when he hears her cry. From the moment she meets him nothing will ever be the same again.
After hearing a women’s cry for help Gerek charges in to save the day. After catching one of the robbers and assisting the women in the aftermath of the attack he insists that he guard them for the rest of their journey. As a knight it is what would be expected of him, but he can’t believe that he has come across anyone to be as ungrateful as the young maidens mother. He insists that the young maiden, whose beautiful eyes he is trying not to notice, lie down to rest in the cart that they have now acquired from the robbers as she took quite a bump to the head when she was pushed down. He thinks that he will be able to keep them safe and keep an eye on his captive while they continue their journey to Hagenheim. A thunderstorm and a hare manage to change Gerek’s plans though when he is thrown from his horse. Not only does he end up breaking his arm and leg when his horse falls on him, but if it wasn’t for Rapunzel’s good aim with throwing a knife he may have lost his life as well as the robber was moments from taking it.
From being the one coming to the rescue it now seems that Gerek is in need of some assistance himself. As he fears he may not last all the way to Hagenheim he insists that they all seek shelter with the monks along the way. Once there Gerek thinks that this will be the last time that he sees the women he rescued. Little does he know that one of his friends, a monk, has offered him up as a tutor for Rapunzel as he will be laid up for weeks while waiting for his bones to heal. The only thing that Rapunzel has continually asked her mother for is the chance to find someone who would teach her to read. If only her mother had found her someone sooner then Rapunzel wouldn’t have gone to extreme measures to make it happen. At first Rapunzel thinks that she will be taught to read by one of the monks so she is surprised, and a little nervous, when she finds out that she will actually be taught by Gerek, who has captured her mind from the moment she met him.
The more time they spend together, the more they learn, you can see the walls start to come down for both of them. Rapunzel has always been taught by her mother to be wary of men and stay away at all costs as they will only cause her heartache but she feels safe with Gerek and closer to him than she would have thought in such a short time. Gerek on the other hand has come from a troubled past and the fear he has of turning into his father has made him view the idea of marriage as nothing more than a contract to get the wealthiest bride. One sure way to show his brother that he has made something of himself. Love doesn’t come into it. Rapunzel knows that if, or more importantly when, her mother finds out she will be mad but she doesn’t count on exactly how far her mother is willing to go. Gerek’s outlook on life and love change from the moment he meets Rapunzel. With the troubles that follow to stay safe they find that they need to stay close to each other. In the end they save each other’s lives in more ways than one.
As you know the story you are waiting for the big reveal and how everything will play out. You are also waiting for when Gerek will wake up and realise that Rapunzel is the perfect woman for him and if he doesn’t claim her for his own then he will regret it forever. The pace of the story is just right and you are just happy to be along for the ride. The characters are complex and intriguing and I loved this fresh twist on a classic fairytale. Even though this one can be read as standalone I was excited to find out that this book is part of a series and that they are all medieval fairytales re-told. I do love medieval stories so I will definitely be checking out the rest of them.
5 out of 5 stars
I received this ARC fro my BookLookBloggers for my honest review.