Entwined by Heather Dixon

Beauty Queens Cover
Fairy-tale retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" appropriate for girls aged 9-11

Entwined by Heather Dixon
Reading Level:
Young Adult (Ages 9+)
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 480
Source: Amazon Vine
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Twelve princesses, each named for flowers, dance in a mysterious, magical forest every night to escape from their own and their father's grief at their beloved mother's untimely death.

Though there are 12 sisters in the famous fairy tale this book is based on, this story focuses primarily on the oldest sister, Azalea, and her two next-in-line sisters. The feel of the story is partly that of a historical novel, with period costume and courtly manners and events, and partly that of a fairy tale, due to the quaint language and "princess in distress" convention of fairy tales. The characters are delightful. The writing excellent. And the story itself is filled with exciting events and satisfying relationships.

The publisher has chosen to market this book as a young adult novel, typically aimed at ages 12-15. However, in my opinion, the story treatment in Entwined seems geared more for girls younger than 12. Admittedly Entwined is much longer than a recently released middle-grade/tween novel I reviewed, The Thirteenth Princess, which is based on this same fairy tale. But girls of around age 9-11 will very likely be happy for the extra pages in this delightful tale since the unique twist on the dancing princesses this author has created is fun to read about, and there is plenty of magic, romance and adventure to keep the pages turning.

Any young girl who loves fairy tales and enjoys having them fleshed out into full-fledged novels will savor this well-written book.

Heroine: 5

Subcharacters: 4

Fantasy World-Building: 4

Writing: 5

Fairytale Retelling Plot: 4

Overall: 4