Join me in giving a warm welcome to Yamile Mendez, today's guest reviewer. Welcome, Yamile!
Summary: When sickness swept through Bronwen’s family, it took the life of her father, brother, and sister, and left her permanently crippled. On the stormy eve of her sixteenth birthday, a faerie-witch gifts her a pair of enchanted shoes. Bronwen slips them on and is healed--but only when the shoes are on her feet. Her grace and beauty catches the eye of the king’s son--Urien, a handsome young man who prides himself on having everything perfect.
When Rhys, an old acquaintance and Captain of the Guard, recognizes Bronwen, he threatens to tell Urien her secret. Desperate to keep her deformity hidden and not to lose the love of handsome Urien, Bronwen quickly finds herself tangled in a web of lies and deceit. After all, she can't wear the shoes forever.” (photo and summary from goodreads.com)
My Review: I love everything fairy tales, myths, and curses with a little bit of romance on the side. From the very first page when I met Bronwen and was immersed in the setting, I knew I was going to love this story. Not very many books make me wish I lived in the time period, place, or was friends with the characters of a book, but Unraveled did!
I’ve always loved the rich mythology of the British Isles, especially in the time period the story is set, right when Christianity starts replacing the old traditions. The time period is similar to Disney’s Brave or King Arthur and his knights. But Bronwen isn’t a Disney princess. She’s a well fleshed character with virtues and flaws that make her relatable even in this day and age. Although sometimes I was furious with her decisions, which have way broader repercussions than Bronwen ever foresaw, I always understood where she was coming from.
I always love a story in which the curse placed on the main character has different consequences than I could have predicted at the beginning. The Gwyllion, a villain at first, becomes a catalyst for Bronwen’s change, and not only in the physical aspect. Bronwen’s desire to be perfect makes her forget who she really is. Her quest in the story isn’t so much finding true love from others as it is finding it in herself. It’s refreshing that while the media bombards us with its idea of beauty, Julie Daines reminds us that beauty and love go beyond the physical aspect, health, and yes, even a nice pair of shoes.
I won’t give away the romance aspect, which was one of my favorite elements of the book. I’ll just say that I found myself smiling and re-reading different sections that reminded me what it feels like to be sixteen and falling in love. Daines did a perfect job portraying the fears and dreams of her characters. Their voices and the dialog are always spot on.
I love that in the book Bronwen not only finds true love, but also friendship in Gwenna. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of books in which the heroine can’t relate to other girls. I love that in Unraveled, Bronwen’s friendship with Gwenna isn’t just a tool to help advance the plot. It develops organically and shows us that when girls support girls, both of them end up stronger.
One last thing I love about the book are the chapter headings. They’re all celtic sayings that summarize the chapters perfectly. Some of them I had heard before, but most of them were new to me.
My rating: 5 stars
For the sensitive reader: Perfectly clean story that readers of all ages will enjoy.
To Sum it up: Lovers of Juliette Marillier (Daughter of the Forest) and Marion Zimmer Bradley (Mists of Avalon) will love this one. It has all the elements of mythology, romance and quest, but it’s clean and wholesome.