The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late."
- Publisher: Greenwillow Books
- Release date: March 29, 2011
- Page count: 480
- Would appeal to: dancers, lovers of fairy tales, lovers of eloquent and old-fashioned prose
"'Down with tyranny!' Bramble cried. 'Aristocracy! Autocracy! Monocracy! Other ocracy things! You are outnumbered, sir! Surrender!'"
"'Mr. Keeper?' Mr Bradford spat the name. "Oh yes, I saw Mr. Keeper. Rather hard not to. I saw him try to kiss you. Or what he said was a kiss. I want to snap his head off!'
Azalea had her hand over her mouth, shocked that someone as solemn and dignified as Mr. Bradford could have such venom.
"In a billow of skirts, Bramble leaped. It was a grand jete worthy of the Delchastrian prima ballerina. She landed right on Lord Teddie, who had no choice but to catch her, and threw her arms around his neck."
"Minutes later, through twisted golden halls of gaudy ornamentation and staircases with whispering pictures, Azalea skidded through the entrance hall and into the ballroom. This portion of the palace...had not been magicked at all."
Amazing is what I have to say about this novel. From the gorgeous cover (it sold itself to me even before I read the blurb) to the magic of old English, I was captured in a way I hadn't been for a while.
There's something for everyone (well, girls mostly). 12 princesses who love to dance. Ancient magic in the castle, including the sugar teeth of the teaset. Handsome men trying to court the eldest princesses (who are all named for plants/flowers in order with letters of the alphabet...Azaela, Bramble, Clover...). Secret passageways. Balls. Romance. Action. Oh, and did I mention there is more than one romantic storyline?
Azaela finds herself in a hard place at the start of the book as her mother is very ill. It is up to her to take care of her sisters. Because everyone loves to dance, Azaela begins to teach them everything she knows, from how to courtsey to how to do the Entwine with a scarf. I don't remember many of the dances names, but it opened up such a lovely world. Heather Dixon either did her research or is a dancer herself. The sisters' personalities, especially the three oldest, shine through. Bramble is especially stubborn and Clover especially beautiful, even though her stutter makes her shy.
Beautifully written. Thoroughly creative. Loved the ending.
I recommended this to a student who couldn't put it down, even during finals week!