STALKS OF GOLD
by Celeste Baxendell
514 pag., Amazon
I received a free copy of this book from the author, in exchange for a honest review. Available now in paperback and set for release on Kindle on the 28-th of January, Stalks of Gold is a YA retelling mix of the classical fairy tales Rapunzel and Rumpelstitkin.
This is the first fairy tale retelling I am reading and I enjoyed it very much.
The story is complex and so are the involved characters. The mix of the two inspiration sources is seamless, with the author having interwoven her imagination between them, and the love story clean, with several other interesting subplots.
The main character is Aurelia, a miller’s daughter who can spin well. She gets caught into a sort of a love triangle with Sandor, her childhood friend, who had kept a secret that he was the king’s bastard, and with Ruskin, a stranger with magical powers who is there for her to help her when Sandor can’t… or, as it seems to Aurelia, won’t. With the new king, Sandor’s legitimate brother, deep in debt and greedy for gold, there are rumours that Aurelia can spin gold, so the king wants to spouse her… after his previous 2 wives had died more or less mysteriously.
The adventure starts from there, including two kidnappings, spectacular rescue scenes which go wrong, Stockholm syndrome up to a point, but respectfully treated, the more or less successful imixtion of the legitimate princess, sister to the king and half-sister to Sandor, magical loss of sight for one of the characters, who has to learn to overcome his new disability…
I read the book breathlessly, rooting for the happy ending and admiring the writer’s skillful world and character building. I wholeheartedly recommend it to those who like fairy tales but also to YA fans.