This alternative fairy tale starts with Prince Richard running across the Germanic countryside trying to hide from anyone and everyone. Each morning and evening Richard is forced to truthfully answer three questions asked by the evil queen through the magic mirror. One question is always ‘who’s the fairest of them all’. Unable to lie Richard, tries to avoid meeting anyone who may be prettier than the evil queen or who may have information useful to her.
In another part of the country the dwarf Gretchen learns about a farm that is run by other people of her kind. Deciding that its time she gets married Gretchen travels to the ‘Little Farm’ to find herself a husband. Gretchen is amazed that there are others like her and she soon finds acceptance living on the farm with the other six dwarfs. Gretchen soon catches the eye of Lars, another dwarf living on the farm. His father used to be the court jester for the King and he is trying to find a new living after being cast out. Flirting ensues between Lars and Gretchen but under the watchful eye of the farm’s resident bully Rudolph who is determined to make life difficult for the two love birds. Its not long before the beautiful Ange comes to the farm after escaping from her uncle’s clutches. As beautiful as she is, Ange has had a hard life following the re-marriage of her father to none other than the evil queen and ends up living in poverty and works in the palace’s kitchens to avoid her evil step mom. Gretchen was determined not to like the lovely princess but Ange’s innate goodness overcame her trepidations and they soon became best friends.
Ange eventually returns to the palace while hiding from her step mother by working in the kitchen. In the meantime Prince Richard has found his way to palace and is determined to find a way to destroy the magic mirror and the Queen’s hold over it. We learn how Richard has become cursed with the mirror and how it finds its way into the hands of the evil queen. Richard tries to hide in plain site but discovers Ange and admires her from afar. As per the original fairy tale Richard ends up telling the magic mirror that it is Ange who is the fairest of them all and like the original the Queen exacts her revenge by way of a poisonous apple. Its up to Gretchen, Lars, Richard and Ange to break the curse and save themselves in the process.
I was a tad reticent when I was asked to review this book I wasn’t sure I was going to like it but I soon started to enjoy the quaint re-telling of the original Grimm brothers tale. Not as grisly as the original fairy tale it did hold true to the original story although focuses much more on the seven dwarfs through Gretchen’s story. I did however, think the culmination of the main plot to be overtly convoluted and at one point I had to do a quick re-read to figure out what had happened.
The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf is the quaint retelling of the original Brothers’ Grimm tale of a beautiful princess, a handsome prince, an evil queen and a adorable, forthright dwarf on a mission to find herself a husband. This story is told largely through Gretchen as she starts a new life on the Little Farm. The story is quite readable and the focus on Gretchen was a great way to re-tell this fairy tale. A quick and easy read which is perfect for a holiday or long commute.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- The Sevenfold Spell
- The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf
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