Monday, January 29, 2018

Review: Allerleirauh

Title: Allerleirauh
Author: Chantal Gadoury
Publisher: The Parliament House
Year published: 2017
How I got this book: I got this as an e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review
My rating: 4 stars

Goodreads synopsis:
Once Upon a Time...

In the kingdom of Tranen, a king makes a promise to his dying wide that he'll only remarry a woman who possesses her golden hair. In time, the king's eyes are turned by his daughter. Realizing her father's intentions, Princess Aurelia tries to trick him by requesting impossible gifts: dresses created by the sun, moon and stars, and a coat made of a thousand furs. But when he is successful, Aurelia sacrifices her privileged life and flees her kingdom, disguised by the cloak and a new name, Allerleirauh. 

She enters the safe haven of Saarland der Licht, where the handsome and gentle Prince Klaus takes her under his care. Hoping not to be discovered by her father's courtiers, Allerleirauh tries to remain hidden under her new identity when she finds unexpected love with Prince Klaus, even though is arranged marriage to the princess of a neighboring kingdom approaches. Risking everything, Allerleirauh must face her troubles past and her fears of the future along her journey to self-acceptance in this triumphant retelling of the classic Grimm Fairy Tale.

My thoughts:
When the author, Chantal Gadoury, first contacted me about her book I'd never heard of it before. She told me it was a re-telling of a fairytale, also called Allerleirauh, I was intrigued. Though I'd never heard of the fairytale either, I saw that it was by the Brothers Grimm, so I wasn't too worried. Even though I don't read that many retellings, I always enjoy them when I do, so I was excited when Gadoury sent me a digital copy of her book.

As mentioned, Allerleirauh is a retelling of a fairytale of the same name by the Brothers Grimm. In English, Allerleirauh means "all-kinds-of-fur", and it's what the main character calls herself. You don't need to know the original story before reading this, I didn't, but it also won't spoil much of the novel, if you know the story beforehand. If you want a brief summary of the original story, this is the synopsis from wikipedia: 

 A king promised his dying wife that he would not marry unless it was to a woman who was as beautiful as she was, and when he looked for a new wide, he realized that the only woman that could match her beauty was his own daughter.
The daughter tried to make the wedding impossible by asking for three dresses, one as golden as the sun, one as silver as the moon, and one as dazzling as the stars, and a mantle made from the fur of every kind of bird and animal in the kingdom. When her father provided them, she took them, with a gold ring, a gold spindle, and a gold reel, and ran from the castle the night before the wedding.
She ran far away to another kingdom, and slept in a great forest there, but the king of that place and his dogs found her while he was hunting. She asked the king to have pity on her and received a place in the kitchen, where worked, and because she gave no name she was called "All-Kinds-of-Fur".
When the king held a ball, she snuck out and went to it in her golden dress. The next morning, the cook set her to make soup for the king, and she put her golden ting in it. The king found it and questioned the cook and then All-Kinds-of-Fur, but she revealed nothing. The next ball, she went dressed in her silver dress and put the golden spindle in the soup, and the king again could discover nothing.
The third ball, she went in the star dress, and the king slipped a gold ring on her finger without her noticing it and ordered that the last dance go on longer than usual. She was not able to get away in time to change, she was able only to throw her fur mantle over her clothing before she had to cook the soup. When the king questioned her, he caught her hand, seeing the ring, and when she tried to pull it away, her mangle slipped, revealing the dress of stars. The king pulled off the mantle, revealing her, and they married. 
As this is a re-telling, Gadoury's story isn't exactly the same as the original, but she really kept the "fairytale feeling" and main events, which I really enjoyed. She keeps the dark theme, considering the father & daughter marriage, but I think she handled it really well. There is a huge trigger warning for rape, sexual abuse and incest in this story. I won't go into details, as I don't want to spoil too much, but if you're sensitive to those topics, you should keep that in mind when starting this book.

One of my favourite parts about this book is the main character, Aurelia. She is so sweet, and I really enjoyed reading from her perspective, and seeing her outlook on life in general.

Even though the story deals with some dark topics, this isn't a sad or heavy book at all. It has that typical fairytale feeling of hope and magic. Gadoury's writing style attributes to this as well, as the language she uses really captures the overall feeling. It's easy to read, and you just fly through the pages.

I definitely enjoyed this book a lot, and I am so happy that Chantal Gadoury contacted me, and wanted me to read this bok. If you enjoy fairytale retellings, then you should give this book a chance. It's fast paced, and you really connect with Aurelia and care about her, and the story in general. It deals with some hard topics in a sensitive way, and I think that's reason enough alone to pick this book up, and giving it a chance. I wouldn't recommend it if you're too young, because of said topics, but otherwise I'd recommend this to everyone. I ended up giving it 4 stars, and I can definitely see myself rereading this book in the future.

Thanks again to Chantal Gadoury for giving me a free e-book copy of her book in exchange for a completely hones review about it. 

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