I read this book for my two fairy tale challenges, The Fairy Tales Retold Challenge and the Telling Tales Challenge. I may consider this for the Classic Double Challenge too, but I will wait and see.
After his wife Vivienne leaves and does not return, Sir Ethan decides to never let his twelve daughters out of his sight. The girls grow up sheltered and eager to break out of their walled in manor house. Rowena the youngest manages to make a hole in the wall and visit the forest. While in there, she has a vision and sees a young knight fighting in a battle. Bedivere is fighting for his life, when he is temporarily transported to a forest where he sees a beautiful young woman. When he is transported back, he is the only survivor of a battle and he promises the dying King Arthur, he will return Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake. Bedivere is the last Knight of the Round Table and so he intends to fufill his vow. Rowena in the meantime finds a bowl which shows her a woman in trouble. Vivienne, the legendary Lady of the Lake, is trying to contact her daughters and save them from the evil Morgan le Fey, who wants Excalibur for herself. Can Bedivere find the Lady of the Lake and the young woman who saved his life and won his heart and will the girls find their mother in time?
This story combined elements both of the King Arthur legends and the Twelve Dancing Princesses, both stories I would love to know more about, which is why I am considering a Classic Double Challenge. However, I may read those stories and do another retelling.
I think Weyn did a great job combining the two stories in a short, concise story. Since the story was only around 200 pages, she only fleshed out a few of the characters. We only truly get to know the eldest and youngest sister, but that did not bother me too much. I thought it was a nice, sweet love story with just a little suspense. I can tell Weyn really researched the stories and the time period. This story really made me what to read the original tales. I have read several retellings of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, but I am not for sure if I have read the original. This one kept to some of the same elements as the other retellings, an absent mother and an overprotective father and one sister who is curious about the outside world. I have only watched Mists of Avalon, Merlin miniseries in the late 90s, and the Disney version of the Sword and the Stone for the King Arthur myths, so Bedivere was not present in those stories. I guess Morte d' Arthur would be the original source in the Arthur myths, but I am not for sure if there are others that would be considered original.
Favorite Character: Rowena. She was curious and refused to give up. She was loyal to Bedivere, even though he seemed just like a poor beggar.
Favorite Quote: "You went through the mystical forest that connects soul mates at the most profound level. In the bronze forest you shared your sadness and helped one another through it. When you passed that you looked to the future together. It is the silver grove of hope. In the golden forest you experienced the complete happiness of being together." That is what a relationship is sharing the good and the bad.
I enjoyed this short retelling and I love the whole Once Upon a Time series. This was not my favorite of the bunch, but it was still a good read. 4 cups of cocoa.