Review: Golden Braid By: Melanie Dickerson
In this retelling of Rapunzel we get a different sequence of events. Yes, Rapunzel has this amazing head of hair but in the fairy tales I always pictured her as this vapid princess who wouldn’t know how to survive life outside that tower if her life depended on it. But in the Golden Braid we see Rapunzel is trapped by more than just where she lays her head down at night. Socio economic status, gender, her lack of education are all things that seem to hold her back. But she is one of the strongest heroines I have ever had the pleasure of reading. If fairy tales were like this maybe I would have read more of them as a child!
Rapunzel is this strong knife throwing character who longs for human interaction and to learn how to read. Her family which just consists of her and her extremely overprotective mother move around from village to village whenever people begin to notice Rapunzel too much. It was during one of these moves that the ladies are attacked but thankfully rescued by a passing knight Sir Gerek (who ends up getting rescued right back by Rapunzel) ends up getting injured himself in the process. He is taken to a monestary and Rapunzel ends up asking one of the monks in town if there is someone who could teach her to read in exchange for her doing chores around the monestary. Little does she know Sir Gerek is to be her instructor while he is recovering from his injuries. What starts as him teaching her the alphabet and some reading from the Holy Text leads to so much more — questions about life and theology take place during their sessions and they realize they have common ground after all.
I thought this was one of the better retellings of a classic fairy tale as Melanie gives us a character we can root for, a girl that we can relate to even now years in the future. There were moments that quite honestly surprised me by the questions that it raised and portions that I thought about long after I finished the book. I had never read a book by Melanie before But with this one story she has been added to my automatic one click authors list. This belongs on anyone’s best books of the year list. I know it will for sure be on mine