Award-winning author Melanie Dickerson continues her medieval retelling of fairy tales, this time using the story of Rapunzel.
In The Golden Braid, seventeen-year-old Rapunzel lives with her mother Gothel in medieval Hagenheim. Rapunzel dreams of learning to read and marrying one day — dreams Gothel continues to prevent from happening. Every time Gothel sees a young man interested in Rapunzel, Gothel packs up their belongings, and they move to another place.
Gothel works as a midwife while Rapunzel stays at home, painting floral scenes on the wall and practicing her knife throwing. In her effort to “protect” her daughter, Gothel isolates her from the real world. When they are attacked on their way to another village, a knight – Sir Gerek – rescues them. In turn, Rapunzel rescues him with her knife-throwing skills down the road. Gerek rewards her by agreeing to teach her secretly to read.
As she studies the scriptures, Rapunzel begins to question things in her life like, “Why Gothel wants her to be suspicious of men?” Rapunzel uncovers a family secret that will change the direction of her life. Unlike other versions of this story, there was no magic or evil powers, merely a woman twisted by the past who twists the future of a young woman.
As in her earlier books, the faith element is clearly evident yet not preachy. Dickerson’s tales feature wholesome relationships while still building a strong attraction between the main characters, making this a good choice for teen readers. Dickerson is a masterful storyteller with a carefully crafted plot, richly-drawn characters, and detailed setting. The reader is easily pulled into the story.
Recommended for young adults and adults who are young at heart.
Carol R. Gehringer