Patricia C. Wrede:Snow White And Rose Red

The two other entries I've read so far in the Fairy Tales series, Charles de Lint's Jack The Giant-Killer and Steven Brust's The Sun, The Moon And The Stars, were both largely transpositions of fairy tales to modern settings. Pamela Dean's Tam Lin also takes place in a modern setting, Jane Yolen's Briar Rose in Nazi Germany, and Kara Dalkey's The Nightingale in ancient Japan.

By contrast, Snow White And Rose Red, which takes place in Elizabethan England, does not feel like it's been transposed to a different setting. The rural English setting feels much like the original German one, and as a result the book feels more like an expanded and fleshed-out version of the fairy tale than one substantially changed.

That said, it's still eminently readable. The fairy tale, not the better- known Snow White, features several odd characters whose presence was never really explained in the original; Wrede has chosen to tie them in to such things as Fairyland and Queen Elizabeth's notorious wizard, Doctor Dee.

But Snow White and Rose Red, here called Blanche and Rosamund, and their mother, are retained almost unchanged from the original tale, and as such the new elements feel more like extra threads woven in to an existing, if somewhat threadbare, pattern than a new canvas upon which the original is to be reproduced in a different style.

Still, it is perhaps more of a "Fairy" tale than some of the other entries (Jack The Giant-Killer excluded), and may be of interest for readers of that material. The Elizabethan English dialogue is also great fun to read.

%A Wrede, Patricia C.
%T Snow White And Rose Red
%I Tor
%C New York
%D April 1989
%G ISBN 0-812-55825-1
%P 271 pp.
%S Fairy Tales
%O Paperback, US$3.95, Can$4.95

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