Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Briar Rose" by Jane Yolen [5]

Ever since she was a child, Rebecca has been enchanted by her grandmother Gemma's stories about Briar Rose. But a promise
Rebecca makes to her dying grandmother will lead her on a remarkable journey to uncover the truth of Gemma's astonishing claim: I am Briar Rose. A journey that will lead her to unspeakable brutality and horror. But also to redemption and hope.

This has been a stunning and unforgettable novel that will leave you reflecting about it for days. It is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Yolen takes the story of Briar Rose and links it to the Holocaust, and she makes it perfectly convincing.

Rebecca and her two older sisters have grown up listening to the story of Briar Rose, but she is the one that promises her grandmother to find out more about her. So begins the journey into a past that seems non-existent, with the help of her editor she soon realizes that her search leads to Poland and there she is confronted with the horrifying truth of how Briar Rose came to be.

"A mist. A great mist. It covered the entire kingdom. And
everyone in it - the good people and the not so good, the
young people and the not so young, and even Briar Rose's
mother and father fell asleep. Everyone slept: lords and
ladies, teacher and tummlers, dogs and doves, rabbits and
rabbitzen and all kinds of citizens. So fast asleep they were,
they were not able to wake up for a hundred years.
Are you a hundred years, Gemma?"
"Not yet."
"I'm six."
"Not yet."
"Is a hundred a lot?"

If you don't get a chance to read anything else, please put this to the top of your priority list. It is so well written ... I just loved the cover as well. While this is a work of fiction the author's note at the end of the novel lets you know what was real, which then just makes the story even more compelling. My first time reading anything from this author and now I'll definitely read some more books from her.

I rate this book 5 stars.

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