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Book Reviews

March 2000

By Sophie Masson.



1999 (P/B) 194 p.


This re-telling of the story of Sleeping Beauty is set in France, immediately pre-Revolution. In this case, there are two sleeping beauties, the Count's daughter Aurora and her friend Clementine, the coachman's daughter, both of them brought up by fairies (a tradition in Aurora's mother's family).

The oldest fairy, Tarabosse, had a quarrel with her sisters centuries ago and has gone off to Paris, where nobody believes in fairies any more. For that matter, Aurora's father is a science nut who would rather turn his daughter into a scientist than have her brought up with magic.

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The entire story is centred, around the clash of old ways and new science, with the suggestion that you need a bit of both to make a decent world. The spindle that pricks the girls? fingers is called Spinning Jenny, a sign of the times. A century later, the ?kings? sons? who wake them are an English aristocrat called Arthur and his Australian valet, Raphael King, both of whom qualify on technical grounds.

The story is good fun for adults - I enjoyed it very much - but I?m not sure it will appeal to the teenagers at whom it's aimed. The language is beautiful, but far too adult and the ideas more complex than the story itself.

Perhaps the publishers ought to do what so many are doing and give it a new cover aimed at adults.

Sue Bursztynski

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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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