I was not aware of the 12 Dancing Princesses Fairy Tale until I saw it one day at the bookstore where I work and picked it up and read it really quick. It was a good story. So when I read the premise for this book Entwined by Heather Dixon I was eager to see how the fairy tale could be adapted into a teen book. Let me say that I think they did a great job. I got sucked in and could barely put it down. This is also one of my books for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge.
The original story was published by the Grimm Brothers. The basic story is that there are 12 princesses, sisters, locked in a room each night. But each morning their slippers are worn out as if they have been dancing all night. The king can't figure it out, so he promises his kingdom and one of the princesses to the man who can solve the mystery. The one who solves it is given an invisibility cloak and warned not to eat or drink anything from the princesses, and to pretend to be asleep when they go to bed. He does all this, then follows them using the invisibility cloak and discovers where they sneak off to and tells the king. This is one version of the story, but all are very similar.
In Entwined the reason the princesses are "locked in" is because they are in mourning. At the beginning of the book we meet their mother who is sick because of her pregnancy with her 12th child. She dies when she has the child and the king is so upset he leaves to go fight in a war. Leaving the girls at home to be in mourning. Mourning means no dancing, wearing black, no going outside, the windows are covered, basically being locked in the house. Now, in the past the castle was changed by magic, and there are still some things left. The princesses also learn about secret passages and find their way down to a secret ballroom to where someone named Keeper controls the dancing and ballroom. Each of the princesses in this story have a name for a plant of some sort, in alphabetical order, beginning with Azalea, the oldest, to the newborn Lily. There are of course several suitors in the story. When the king comes back from war he sees that the girls' slippers are worn out from their going to dance each night, and so he sends out a message to get someone to help figure out the mystery. When these gentlemen are at the palace, the girls are allowed to go outside and it is almost like not being in mourning.
I loved the emotional side brought to the story, and how the father is trying to win back the love of his daughters that he has somewhat been away from due to Royal Business, or R.B. as they call it in the book. This was a really good fairy tale. After all the dystopian novels I've been reading lately with often depressing endings, it is nice once in awhile to get lost in a happy ending again. I will definitely recommend this!