Monday, June 30, 2014

The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell

The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell - 327 pages

Sand wakes up in the chimney of the Sundered Castle.  He is the only living thing in the castle -- trapped by a hedge of thorns that surrounds the castle.  Being trained as a blacksmith, Sand starts to mend things in the castle - buckets, pots, relics in the chapel, and even a skeleton he finds in the crypt.  He is shocked when that skeleton comes to life.  Perrotte was killed over 25 years ago by her stepmother.  Now they are both trapped in the castle behind thorns and must find a way out.
I enjoyed this book.  I picked it up thinking it was a simple retelling of Sleeping Beauty. While it had elements of the fairy tale -- a princess that was meant to be in a long sleep that comes back to life and a castle surrounded by thorn covered hedges -- it was much more than that.  It was a story of politics in Middle Ages France.  It was a parable on forgiveness.  It was also a coming of age story for the two main characters.  It was also extremely atmospheric and creepy.  The image that stayed with me long after reading the book was the mended heart of a saint in the chapel coming to life and having a heartbeat in it's reliquary box.

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