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Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

Review by Liara

This short but excellent book is based on the Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose fairy tale, but it is not just a straight retelling of the story. It's more like a historical mystery, with flashbacks that reveal the events of the past a little at a time.

The main character in the present is Becca, a young American Jew whose dying grandmother (the other main character) is obsessed with the story of Sleeping Beauty. She leaves behind a box of documents dating back to her immigration to America during the Holocaust, and it's up to Becca to piece together her grandmother's story.

The book is very, very well written; the fairy tale and the horror of the Holocaust fit seamlessly together, filtered nicely through Becca's search for her family roots. The characters, especially Becca and her grandmother, are very real and easy to care about. The descriptions are also quite good, vivid enough to stick with me for weeks after reading it; and while the Holocaust stuff was of course sad and disturbing by nature, it wasn't written too graphically.

Obviously, I loved this book. I couldn't put it down (jana couldn't either). I give it 5 out of 5 amulets.

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