The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson
Genre: Fairy-tale retelling
Published by: Thomas Nelson (HarperCollins)
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I was immediately drawn to The Golden Braid because of its genre. Fairy tale retellings are some of my favourite things, and Rapunzel has such a great story to adapt. As this was set in 15th century Germany, rather than a contemporary or futuristic setting, it reminded me a lot of Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl. I really like seeing fairy tales in their natural habitat, and I think understanding the context of the time really helped make this retelling special. P L O T
The story isn’t that different from what you remember. Rapunzel lives with Mother Gothel, after being kidnapped as a child from her true mother, the identity of whom she doesn’t know. Rapunzel desires to learn to read and write, something women of her class aren’t able to do easily. With the help of a knight, Sir Gerek, she starts to discover the wonders of literacy, while being captivated by the scripture of the Bible and finding out who she truly is.
This was a sweet read. Quite slow paced, with not much action guiding the plot, but there are a few scenes of peril which helped to keep me interested in the story. I felt like more could have happened, but nothing was rushed, which I appreciated. You got to know Rapunzel in every new location, and see her interact with lots of characters.
C H A R A C T E R
The blurb did make it seem like Rapunzel was going to fit the kick-butt female protagonist stereotype, by emphasising her ability to throw knives, but what I really liked about this Rapunzel was how similar to her Disney counterpart she was. Genuinely nice and curious about the world she’s been kept from. Although my favourite Rapunzel retelling is Cress by Marissa Meyer, I love that all Rapunzel characters maintain the same personality traits.
Gerek, the knight, was a little snobby, but I like growing to love the male characters, and that’s definitely something that happened her. It was interesting to watch him fall in love with her, rather than the other way around.
R O M A N C E
Because of Mother Gothel’s nature, romance was forbidden from Rapunzel’s life. What helped to make this story authentic was it’s 15th century mindset, in regards to women’s role and what they can and can’t do.
The romance was sweet, but because it was following the socio-historical background, it didn’t overwhelm the story. Refreshing, right?
G E N R E
As far as the retelling itself, it wasn’t much of a retelling. If you’ve seen Tangled, that’s a pretty fun take on the traditional story. If you’ve read Cress, that’s super adventurous and jam-packed full of romantic and wild moments. The Golden Braid on the other hand was more understated. Being aware of the Rapunzel tale, it was easy to predict the plot twists and turns. But, what makes a retelling successful is its ability to still entertain you, despite your knowledge of the origin story, and I’d say it definitely did that.
V E R D I C T
The Golden Braid, therefore, get’s a solid 3 stars. It was fun, but not my favourite Rapunzel retelling. I’m definitely interested in reading the other retellings in this series!