My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Oh my goodness, I love this book so much! Based on the cover, I thought it was going to be this sweety cutesy teen romance, but it was so much more and had so many levels to the story. Blew me away! Plus, I always love fairytale retellings, and this one is the ‘Twelve Dancing Princesses’.
Azalea is the eldest of the princesses, who have just lost their mother. Since their grieving father is so distant and cold, the girls turn to dancing to remind them of their mother and comfort them in their grief. But the strict rules of Mourning won’t allow dancing, and the girls have to search the castle for a secret place to dance. The mysterious Keeper holds a nightly ball at his magical Pavilion deep within the castle’s walls, but what he wants in return for his hospitable dance parties might be more than the girls are willing to pay. His motives are unclear, and Azalea will have to unravel the mystery of the Pavilion to protect her sisters from the machinations of the Keeper.
In the midst of the mystery and magic, there is a central story about a father and his daughters, learning to grieve together, learning to accept each other, and eventually finding out just how strong their family love truly is. What truly delighted me about this book was that, while the romance is lovely too, the main story focuses entirely on the sisters and their father.
Three of the older sisters have blossoming romances with various suitors, each with varied personalities and characters that made me laugh and cry and gasp in delight; but it was the sisters themselves, their own personalities and quirks, their inside jokes, the way they care for each other and share their troubles, and the deep understanding they enjoy, that truly made this a 5 star book.
And each of the sisters are so unique! You would think that with 12 of them running around things would get confusing, but I remembered each of them especially, because they are all special in their own way. Excellent writing!
And the magic plot was wonderful! Suspense and danger and adventure at every turn! I loved it!
The writing has a little spark to it that I can’t describe; this sort of peppery-sweet flavor that drew me into the story and made me smile.
I want to read everything by this author!