Overall, this was a delightful story, and I do recommend it! It’s a combination of Sleeping Beauty and Jack and the Beanstalk. The Queen gives birth to twins, but the first baby has deformed features and is deemed unsuitable to be the heir. Luckily, the second baby is perfect. Due to some quick thinking on the Queen’s part, the first baby is going to be raised as the daughter of a distant Duke who passed away, but brought to the castle to be a playmate for the new princess. And thus we have Briar and Rose. The wise women who helped with the birth, Hilde, is godmother to Briar. The fairies are invited to the christening, except the gray fairy (obviously a mistake.) Hilde has some magic, and switches the babies partway through the blessings of the fairies, trying to give Briar as much of an advantage in life as she can. The babies are switched back in the middle of the gray fairy’s curse, and the effect is unknown until the girls turn sixteen.
Time skips forward to when the girls are nine, and they run about the castle and village. They do not know that they are sisters, but are as close as can be. We finally get to meet Jack. He is a peasant and joins the girls in their games. We also get to meet the giant. He comes and terrorizes the castle and demands food and gold and destroys walls in his path. The king has implemented a Giant Tax to pay for the demands, and the peasants feel the brunt of it. The children vow to kill the giant, but realize that it will take time and planning.
We skip forward three years, and the children are twelve. The dynamic between the girls is starting to change a bit. More people come into their lives. We skip another three years and the dynamic has changed again. The girls become more independent with different friend groups and different expectations. Briar really has no expectations set upon her. Rose knows that she will have to marry whomever her father decides will be best for the kingdom. Jack really is a nice boy, and his mother is kind and awesome, which is a nice change from the mean one we see sometimes.
There were a couple little things that I would have changed, and that Katherine Coville may not realize have other meanings to them. For example, the girls are singing a song about a goose who is trying to convince a maiden to marry him, but fails and is eaten. But the verse the author writes is “And she choked on his meat and died.” Um. If that had been “bones” instead of “meat,” there would be no problem, or at least less of one. But maybe the kids will get a kick out of that bit. It’s just, you’re going along the story when all of a sudden you get thrown out into reality. There’s also the issue of the “secret signal” the children have. It’s made by making a circle with the thumb and forefinger. So it’s either an “ok” sign, but that’s a bit obvious. So it’s probably low. And that looks like the ASL for “asshole” or the hand-sign that kids use for a version of the game where if you see it, you get punched. That one may not be as well known, but still! At the beginning of the book, her descriptions are a bit too flowery to me, and don’t really match the rest of the story.
This fulfills the CBR 11 Bingo category of “Remix”