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Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it’s taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

First off, I have to admit: gorgeous, gorgeous cover. Gah. I know, it’s awful to admit the shallowness of it all, but I do love beautiful books that are so inside and out.

That out of my system, now for the best part: the book…

Heather Dixon caught my interest immediately with her retelling of the classic fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Azalea and her eleven sisters, all with matching flower names, are absolutely adorable and refreshingly real, and for the first time ever, I got a better inkling as to why on earth they would manage to find themselves entrapped into being forced to dance their slippers threadbare every night. It felt real, from the king’s reaction to grief over losing his wife, to the girls’ vow of silence and commitment and desire to dance.

The storyline was familiar enough that I knew how all would end, but the journey to ‘happily ever after’ was enchanting. It had an almost steampunk feel to it: magic surrounding the palace, combined with military battles and modern weaponry. Bits made me laugh, parts made me smile fondly and by the time I was halfway through the book, I was hooked. I had to finish it by the end of the weekend, just to find out what happened to Azalea, Bramble, Clover and the rest of the dancing princesses.

One minor quibble – the amount of fainting was ridiculous (and believe me, I’m the fainter of the family, so I know that the amount of fainting was overkill and felt a tad too much like a cheesy romance touch) – but other than that, I’d definitely put this on my shelf of favorite fairy-tales retold.

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