Once upon a time, back when my sister lived in New Jersey, I borrowed a few books from her house. (This was at least five years ago, and yes, I did ask.) I read two of them in a somewhat timely fashion, but two more have been sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read, ever since. Fast forward to a month or two ago and my oldest niece is looking at my bookshelf. I sheepishly point out the books I borrowed from her mom years ago, and, taking a closer look, she says–“I think I bought that one myself, with birthday money or something; that explains why I never got around to reading it!”
Oh, the guilt. I basically stole my poor niece’s book when she was only a tween (or thereabouts)! And so, in a belated attempt to put it right, I moved Cameron Dokey’s The Storyteller’s Daughter up to the very top of my reading list, and I finished it over lunch today. When my parents head out to Colorado to visit my sister, I’ll send it with them; maybe Macy will even have time to read it before she leaves on her mission! That’s something, right?
Yeah, still with the guilt. Anyway. I don’t read as many fairy tale re-tellings as I used to, and I have to say, The Storyteller’s Daughter made me wonder why. (Okay, it’s probably because I read more non-fiction, but still.) Cameron Dokey weaves a web of words that beautifully showcase her chosen tale; her writing style is perfect for a series entitled “Once upon a Time.” I didn’t know much about “The Arabian Nights,” but no matter. All that I needed to know was there. Shahrazad (the Persian spelling of Scheherazade), the storyteller whose life depends upon her skill, is a quietly strong heroine, and the king she marries is successfully portrayed as an emotionally wounded man who must be healed for the sake of his kingdom. The stories Shahrazad tells remind me stylistically of the fairy tales I read in my childhood; they entertain in and of themselves while furthering the story of their teller. In the end, it’s almost hard to label the book’s genre–fairy tale? Folk tale? Fable? Love story? I’m honestly not quite sure. What I am sure of, however, is that this is a book to be read and relished by fans of all of them.