The third book in the series.

Publication year: 2010
Format: Audio
Narrator: Carol Monda
Running Time: 11 hrs

The book starts with Danielle (Cinderella), Talia (Sleeping Beauty), and Snow (Snow White) apparently making a deal with a poor miller Lang whose daughter can spin straw into gold, even promising to marry the girl to Danielle’s infant son when the boy is old enough. However, this turns out to be a ruse to lure out the fairy Rumpelstiltskin. The gnome has stolen children for years and erased their memories but the three princesses end all that.

Lang and the gnome are sent to another country for their punishment but their carriage is attacked and everyone killed. The attacker sends Danielle a message and her stepsister’s toe. The attacker is Roudette, the Lady of the Red Hood, a master assassin. Even though Danielle’s stepsister tried to kill her in the first book, Stepsister Scheme, Danielle insists that they will try to rescue her. Talia, Snow, and their fairy friend Trittebar set out to kill Roudette and rescue the stepsister, if possible.

I really enjoy many of the aspects of this series. Characters grow and change during the series and bad consequences aren’t just made to disappear. Danielle’s mother-in-law Queen Beatrice was stabbed in the previous book. Even though Snow was able to heal her so that she didn’t die immediately, she is dying more slowly and everyone knows it. Also, Snow was wounded in the previous book and the wound has made it more difficult for her to use her magic. There’s also positive growth: Danielle is now a mother and she must think about her family first.

I also really enjoy the friendship between the three women and between them and Beatrice who is beloved mother figure to them.

This story focuses on Talia, who has so far been the most mysterious figure. Now we get to really know her past. Her home country, Arathea, is in a desert and based on Muslim culture. As far as I can tell, the writer is sensitive to the Muslim culture. Arathea is ruled by fairies and according to Arathea’s religion, fairies are essentially angels and doing what the fairies say will save a mortal’s soul. Talia violently disagrees with all that because she slept during the time when the fairies took over Arathea. Essentially, they took over Talia’s land. The Wild Hunt also makes an appearance. We also get to know a lot about Roudette, the Little Red Riding Hood. Her past is just as dark as the other princesses’.

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