Sunday, August 21, 2022

"Rose Petals and Snowflakes" by Kendra E. Ardnek

In retrospect, it kind of surprises me that I haven't read any Jane Austen + fairy tale retellings before.  The whole concept works so well!  Rose Petals and Snowflakes melds Austen's Sense and Sensibility with "Snow White and Rose Red," and it is completely charming.  I gobbled this up in two days!  And now I'm handing it off to my kids, all of whom love fantasy books, and all of whom are familiar with Sense and Sensibility, so I know they'll appreciate it fully.

Princess sisters Elinrose and Snowmari have a problem: their father, the king, is dying, and their older half-brother is lost in an enchanted forest.  Well, maybe not so much lost in as captured by, since the forest is semi-sentient and ruled by a powerful and mean enchantress.  Elinrose, being a sensible and capable sort of person, heads off to find and rescue their brother.  In the process, she meets a charming young man named Earnest and a talking bear called Bear.  And she gets her brother back, plus a new sister-in-law that no one quite knows how to react to.  And then, things get complicated.

Yes, more complicated than having to rescue your half-brother from an enchanted forest.  Like waking up in a cottage with your mother, sister, and niece without knowing how you got there, befriending fairies and talking bears, and your sister falling in love with a fickle wood spirit named Willow.  

I absolutely loved how elements from Sense and Sensibility got woven together in this, recognizable but not always used in exactly the same ways.  Like, if you're familiar with S&S, you know who Lucy Steele is and how absolutely infuriating and sickening she is.  The version of her in this has a legit reason beyond her control for certain secrets involving her past, and she's not conniving or horrible, and I completely loved that change.  

I can't wait to dive into the next Austen Fairy Tale book, Crown and Cinder, and book three (Emmazel) should be coming out in a few weeks, so I'll definitely be buying that as well!

Particularly Good Bits:

If she would never love again, then she would love with every beat of her heart while she could (p. 87).

     Snowmari gave the best smile she had the energy for.  "You need to stop chasing problems that aren't yours to solve."
     "I do.  You're right.  The resolve didn't leave Elinrose's voice.  "But I am never going to stop fighting the battles that are mine, and I suspect that I should have taken this one up weeks ago and saved you a great deal of pain" (p. 146).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG for some mild fantasy violence.  No bad language, no smut, no gore.  I'm handing this to my ten-year-old, who has been eagerly awaiting her chance at it.

This is a contribution to the Austen in August celebration hosted all month by Roof Beam Reader.  It's also 41st book I've read off my TBR shelves for #TheUnreadShelfProject2022.


  1. This looks absolutely delightful! I have never really paid much attention to retellings, but this is just to my taste. Is there also a fantasy equivalent for Brandon? (He is one of my favourite Austen heroes!)

    1. Chiara, it IS delightful! Brandon is actually the Bear, and he is completely sweet. He's one of my favorite Austen heroes too! Almost up there with Captain Wentworth, who is my absolute favorite.

  2. This looks cute--and I do looove S&S. I'll have to add it to my to-read list!

    1. Eva, it is totally cute! A breezy -- but not trite -- joy to read.


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