Rating: 5 stars
“When she opened the covers she found within its pages princes and princesses, witches and wizards, captive and waiting to be released by reading.”
I was fortunate enough to be given this book as a Christmas present from work, and oh my word – it is wonderful. Not only is it a sight to behold, with gilded lettering and beautiful illustrations, but it is magical inside too. Between the pages of this book is a stunning, lyrical re-telling of The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen, and I was spellbound by it.
Eliza lives with her eleven brothers and their parents, the king and queen, until the death of her mother causes new changes to occur. The king finds a new wife, but hides his family from her, causing a web of mistrust and lies. The new queen curses the king’s sons, turning them into eleven white swans – swans who migrate and leave their home, and their sister, behind. Not accepting this as her brothers’ fate, Eliza discovers a way to break the spell. But this comes at a high price, for Eliza must knit eleven shirts for the eleven brothers, made out of the fibres of nettles, all the while never, ever making a sound.
As time goes on, Eliza resolutely continues her task, quietly determined (and I mean l i t e r a l l y) to bring her brothers back for good. But with complications and well meaning but misdirected intrusions, will Eliza be able to complete her task without uttering a single sound, and before time runs out, leaving her brothers as swans for ever?
Nominated for the Greenaway and Carnegie Medals 2017, this is a truly breathtaking, awe-inspiring, and magical story. This is the perfect escapist fairytale, and I will be re-reading it for years to come.
Thank you again Alligator’s for your gift!