Rapunzel loves her mother, even if she is a bit odd, over-bearing and constantly issues warning about the dangers of men. Therefore, Rapunzel's yearnings to read and to marry must remain a secret. When initially unfortunate circumstances award her the opportunity to learn how to read from the handsome knight, Sir Gerek, Rapunzel covertly defies her mother's wishes and finds her love of reading grows deeper than expected. Surprisingly, affection slowly grows between her and Sir Gerek as well. However, he is promised to another and Rapunzel's mother is devoted to keeping Rapunzel home and unmarried all her life. Will Rapunzel and Sir Gerek follow the desires of others or the desires of their hearts? Read more in The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson.
The Golden Braid is Melanie Dickerson's newest installment in her fairy tale retellings that feature Duke Wilhelm, his family and surrounding Hagenheim. Sufficient information is given for this book to stand-alone, but there are so many returning characters that having read the prior books (or at least some of them, as is the case for me) gives the story a deeper dimension. I believe that this story takes place concurrently with The Princess Spy. However, I haven't read that particular one, so I can't say for sure.
I enjoyed Rapunzel's development from being enmeshed within an unhealthy mother-daughter relationship to becoming a liberated, independent young woman. The love relationship between Rapunzel and Sir Gerek developed sweetly. Dickerson's writing style is smooth and the plot moved along steadily.
In spite of those positives, The Golden Braid is not my favorite of Dickerson's tales. Certain aspects were borrowed from the Disney movie, Tangled. I recognize that both this novel and that movie are based on the Rapunzel fairy tale, but somehow the similarities between the two seemed to cheapen the story as these aspects were from the movie, not fairy tale based. It's completely possible that some readers might find these similarities endearing, but for me, it wasn't a positive aspect.
The Golden Braid is categorized as YA reading and I see certain elements that commend it to that genre. However, I think older fans of fairy tale retellings will also find this novel to be a satisfactory read.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook free from the publisher via netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."