I’ve read a lot of Cinderella retellings over the years. Which, now that I think about it, is kind of weird, since I don’t particularly like Cinderella. I don’t hate Cinderella, nothing against the story, it’s not even my least favorite (lookin at you, Snow White). But it’s not my favorite either. I’m just kind of…meh about it.
But I keep coming back for the retellings.
The tale of Cinderella has been retold countless times. But what you know is not the true story.
Pin has no recollection of who she is or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress. She only knows that she is a Seamstress, working day in and out to make ball gowns fit for fairy tales. But she longs to forsake her backbreaking servitude and dares to escape with the brave young Shoemaker.
Pin isn’t free for long before she’s captured again and forced to live the new life the Godmother chooses for her—a fairy tale story, complete with a charming prince—instead of finding her own happily ever after.
So how should I begin this blog post? Oh yes.
Once upon a time…
What Intrigued Me: I seriously cannot help myself when it comes to fairy tale retellings. I can’t stop myself. It’s an addiction. And as far as addictions go, it’s not that bad. There are definitely worse out there.
But it does make me predictable.
What Hooked Me: You know how in Groundhog’s Day Bill Murray relives the same day over and over until he gets it right? This is both just like that and nothing like that.
Ash & Bramble is a fake out. It’s also circular. It’s repetitive.
Some explanation may be in order:
Ash & Bramble is written in three parts that are all connected, yet separate. Connected in the sense that they are a chronological continuation of the main story. Separate in that they are each their own, complete story. Connected in that each of the three parts is an escape story. Separate in that each escape is different, and told in a different style.
I feel like my explanation may have caused even more confusion.
In Ash & Bramble, Pin is not repeating the same day over and over, but she is repeating the same events over and over. Sort of. In a way.
I’m very bad at explaining this.
What Made Me Fall In Love: Ash & Bramble is a story where the villain is…story. Essentially, it says that tropes are the kiss of death, and the characters that survive are the ones that refuse to conform to what is expected.
Which is just beyond wonderful.
Because, really, who wants predictable? Who wants a nice, tidy happily ever after?