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The Rose Bride: A Retelling of The White…
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The Rose Bride: A Retelling of "The White Bride and the Black Bride"

by Nancy Holder

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Once Upon a Time

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I really liked this book. It was very sweet and moving.

The Rose Bride is a bit of the Cinderella fairy tale, and The Beauty and the Beast fairy tale with magic, sorcery and shape shifting mixed together. The main character is Rose who is the "Cinderella" and the one who is changed into an animal whose spell is broken by love (Beauty and the Beast). Rose has a very evil stepmother Ombrine and stepsister Desiree. There is also King Jean-Marc who lost his first wife and son and who needs to learn to love again. Jean-Marc is basically the beast in "Beauty and the Beast" except he is human and not mean. The story has a lot of action in it as well with an actual battle happening, royal hunts going on and magic. Its really cool how the story moves and changes from one fairy tale to the other. It flows seamlessly and is well written.

Rose is the main character and her life is literally a mess. So many bad things happen to this girl that its a wonder she isn't a total wreck or that she hasn't offed herself. She loses everything and when I say everything, I mean Everything: people, belongings, house, her human form. I feel so bad for her. Her losses start at the age of 13 and just continue to pile up. While she does despair when these tragedies occur she is very strong, resilient and endures. She is put through trials by her patron goddess and is able to learn what she is supposed to learn. After everything that happens this girl still manages to learn to love. She is awesome.

Her step-mother is a cruel b****. I mean she is very evil. She is so mean, nasty and conniving. She was a lady of a wealthy husband who died and since falling into peasantry she is obsessed with wealth and riches and does anything to get it. The very first time we meet her she is telling Rose that she is the reason for her father's death. What kind of person tells a kid they never met something like this. She is very greedy and takes possession of all of Rose's family's things all the while complaining about the items. She is also a sorceress who casts a spell over the King to make him fall for Desiree.

Desiree is a little airhead idiot who follows in her mother's footsteps. She is very mean to Rose for no reason. She has no sympathy for Rose even though she was in Rose's shoes not long ago. She is very insulting Rose's parents which made me want to punch her in the face. All she cared about was riches too. I'd say she was more of a glutton than greedy. She is also involved with sorcery although I don't think she had any of the power and her mother does. I get the feeling that Desiree was just another pawn in her mother's plan. But that didn't give her any reason to be so evil like her mother. Both Desiree and Ombrine had a very fitting end.

King Jean-Marc is generally a nice guy. He just let his grief over his first wife and son consume him. When he married again, he did so not out of love but out of want and need for his first wife. He felt his loss deeply which was an opening for Desiree and Ombrine to exploit. He does eventually learn to love instead of need.

I liked the whole theme of the story which was that love can heal everything and its important to know that you are loved. I really liked the roses, the rose garden and the special purple roses and what their meaning is in the story. I just think that hearing the purple roses say "You are loved" over and over for the rest of my life would drive me a bit crazy.

The only thing I can say that was ehh and confused me was the fact that the people in this story are french or at least speak french but worship Greek gods and goddesses. Zeus was Jean-Marc's patron god. Artemis was Rose's. I enjoyed the mythology and how the gods/goddesses interacted with the characters and I'm glad Artemis was featured heavily in the book because she is my favorite Greek goddess. That being said it was very strange to have french speaking Greek gods worshippers. It didn't mesh well with me.

That aside, I really enjoyed the book and liked it a lot.

This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews ( )
  spantalian12 | Jan 10, 2014 |
I was looking forward to this book, as I really love fairy tales that are re-told in a new way. Sadly, this book did not live up to my expectations.

That being said, there were a lot of really neat aspects to this book. I really like the roses that are prominent throughout the story. There is such awesome attention to detail in the book. I also really like that the mother's dying message remains throughout the story. Also, this book was not entirely predictable, and there were some big surprises in the story!

Still, the book had some elements that I wasn't expecting and I'm not sure I entirely liked. The presence of the gods Artemis and Zeus was surprising, and I'm still not sure how they fit into the story in that I'm not sure it fit with the "fairy tale" feeling of the book. I also wasn't expecting the main character to change in appearance so drastically like she did! It was a very interesting way to approach the tale, but again not sure I liked where it went.

In conclusion, The Rose Bride wasn't for me, but it is still a really interesting approach to the fairy tale, and a nice quick read. ( )
  Katharine_Ann | Jul 4, 2012 |
Themes: love, religion, magic, fairy tales
Setting: fairy tale France

Rose is a sort of Cinderella. Her mother dies when she is young, her father remarries to a completely unsuitable woman with a daughter of her own and then dies, and Rose is mistreated by her new stepmother. But Cinderella didn't have all this stuff about Artemis the Goddess and have her turn into a deer.

Several other reviewers here on LT, plus my own daughter, complained about the odd mesh between the Greek mythology and a fairy tale called "The White Bride and the Black Bride," which I'd never heard of before. But I didn't listen, because I had this on my list, and because I often enjoy this series. My mistake. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't good. Maybe the story makes sense to the writer, but it wasn't doing it for me. Plus Rose is such a drip! Whine, whine, whine, my life is awful, nobody loves me, whine, whine, whine. Get some backbone, already! Not worth reading. ( )
  cmbohn | Aug 16, 2010 |
After reading a couple of 'Once Upon a Time' books that I had hated, The Rose Bride was a good change. It's a lovely fairy tale adaptation. I found it to be quite unique...Nancy Holder uses Greek Gods all throughout the novel, yet apparently the story is set in medieval France. That being said, the book did have a few problems. I wasn't very familiar with the fairy tale 'The White Bride and the Black Bride' but after I read this book, I looked up that fairy tale again. I was surprised to find out that this book didn't follow the fairy tale very much. In fact, this book seemed like some sort of cross between 'Cinderella' and something like 'The Goose Girl'. I had this sense throughout the book, and the author's note at the end confirmed it for me, Nancy Holder took a lot of inspiration from the movie 'Ever After'. So, if you were really looking forward to an adaptation of this fairy tale, you might be disappointed. But all that beside, I really liked this book as a fairy tale. ( )
  HollyMS | May 27, 2008 |
The Rose Bride is an interesting addition to the "Once Upon a Time" series that is quickly becoming one of my aboslute favorites to read.

While "Rose Bride" doesn't stand up to the best in that series ("Snow" by Tracy Lynn and "Storyteller's Daughter" by Cameron Dokey), it does break from the pattern quite a bit, and offers a rather gritty, dark tale of grief and grieving. I recommend it first as a library rental, for it can be a tough read, and its problems stick out glaringly.

While the story/plot itself are excellent and really very engaging, it lacks hard characterization. Our heroine is very passive, and often seems helpless; and when she finally does make a decision and take action, it seems too little, too late to the reader. Equally dull are the Stepmother and her Daughter; neither is fully realized and their motives seem arbitrary and strange. The most fully realized character is that of the Prince, who makes perfect sense and is utterly believable as a grieving widower, monarch, and romantic. He is wonderfully fleshed out.

But the largest problem is the inclusion of the Greek gods as the religion. While it's awesome to read a book in which the Greek gods are taken out of Ancient Greece (this is clearly a more medieval setting), in the last few chapters our "villain" doesn't fit into the set at all, and thus RUINS the entire mythos. The Greek thing was working so well (even if you were DYING for more details) until this ill-fitting dark lord was shuffled in there awkwardly.

Still, despite these flaws, it was a compelling read and I encourage fairy tale lovers to pick it up, if only because of the excellent plot and because it is a more obscure fairy tale to choose (though VERY Cinderella-esque). ( )
  CornerDemon | Sep 25, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nancy Holderprimary authorall editionscalculated
Craft, KinukoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craft, Mahlon F.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"When Rose's mother dies, her only comfort is the exquisite rose garden her mother left behind. The purple blossoms serve as an assurance of her mother's love. But Rose is dealt a second blow when her father dies and his greedy widow, Ombrine, and her daughter, Desiree, move in and take over the manor in true Cinderella fashion. Fate has been cruel to Ombrine and Desiree, too. So despite their harsh ways, Rose has compassion. But these feelings are bitterly tested when, in a rage, Ombrine tears out the garden. Rose nearly gives up all hope -- until a chance meeting with the king. Happiness might be within her reach, but first she must prevail over Ombrine. And then she must determine if she has the courage to love"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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