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Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

Briar Rose (1992)

by Jane Yolen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Fairy Tale Series

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,034843,288 (4.01)212
  1. 30
    Deerskin by Robin McKinley (FutureMrsJoshGroban)
  2. 00
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: YA-geared fiction relating to the Holocaust
  3. 00
    The Final Solution: A Story of Detection by Michael Chabon (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Two stories that intertwine characters from elsewhere with the Holocaust. Both are affecting in their own ways.
  4. 00
    Damned Strong Love: The True Story of Willi G. and Stefan K. : A Novel by Lutz van Dijk (Jenson_AKA_DL)
    Jenson_AKA_DL: Although one book is fiction and the other a true account there are many similarities between the story told in the latter part of "Briar Rose" and the whole story of "Damned Strong Love" for those who may be interested.
  5. 00
    The Seduction of Water by Carol Goodman (kraaivrouw)

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» See also 212 mentions

English (83)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (84)
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
Challenging because of its Holocaust setting, yet engaging in its originality. This take on the Sleeping Beauty tale is dark and tragic and haunting but brings such depth to the themes and symbols of the fairy tale. I'll be forever touched by having read this book. My only issue came in the addition (and very pat ending) of a present-day romance that lent nothing at all to the original tale. The book would have been better without such a commonplace (overwrought) story element. Thankfully, this was a very minor piece of an otherwise captivating tale. Jane Yolen's BRIAR ROSE does justice to Charles Perrault's story and adds great depth by setting it in one of history's darkest times. ( )
  phrenetic.mind | Dec 30, 2014 |
I find it hard to rate this book because I found it so terribly depressing. I don't want to say I "liked" it, because I didn't, per se. I am not happy that I read it, but I don't think it was a waste of time, either. The way the stories intertwined was interesting and it was well written (I believe) but I won't be reading it again. Definitely not something to read if you need a pick-me-up. ( )
  kateminasian | Nov 22, 2014 |
Don't let this book fool you. It may be young adult. It may be a quick read, but the subject matter and the crafty way in which it was written is absolutely brilliant. On her deathbed, Grandma "Gemma" makes youngest granddaughter, Becca, promise to learn the story of Gemma's past. She claims to be the real Briar Rose. Along with her two older sisters, Becca has heard the fairy tale of Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty all her life. It's the only bedtime story Gemma would ever tell. Now Becca believes there is some similarities between the princess and her very own grandmother. Could Gemma really be Sleeping Beauty? Keeping the promise she made to her grandmother and with the help of a journalist friend, Becca sets out to uncover the mystery. The clues take her to Poland, specifically Chelmno, Hitler's extermination camp during the Holocaust. Becca meets Josef Potacki and the pieces fall into place. Woven throughout Becca's story is Gemma's bedtime story and Josef's story of survival. The present and past mesh together to tell a deeply moving tale of courage and love. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Aug 25, 2014 |
Jane Yolen developed an unlikely premise of melding the Sleeping Beauty story with the Holocaust and created magic. Becca's grandmother has died, leaving a mystery surrounding her identity. The clues are an oft-told bedtime story and a box of relics. This story tweaked my genealogy, history and mystery interests all at the same time. The author walks on sensitive ground here and it's sensitively told. The style may be geared to younger readers but it comes with mature-enough dialogue, scenes and situations to satisfy any adult. The "kids" can handle it (its back cover recommends 13 and up). They need to. Probably the best YA novel I've read, and one of the best novels I've read this year. ( )
  Cecrow | Aug 18, 2014 |
You know, when I picked this up I don't know what I was expecting to be honest. Sleeping Beauty retelling ticked my fairytale obsession, Holocaust twist ticked my history and originality boxes and the fact it was well written and engaging just made everything better after the last few books.

Despite my positivity going in, I just didn't expect to get so wrapped up in this and to feel that bad at times, and that desperate for answers at others. The basic premise is that Becca makes a promise to her grandma 'Gemma' on her deathbed to find out about the princess that she had grown up being told about, Her grandmother had an obsession with the story Sleeping Beauty - and obsession that survived multiple tellings, her grand children's growing apathy with the tale and even dementia and through it all the facts of the story never changed. Briar Rose's castle was cursed by the evil fairy with the black books and the hat with the eagles on it, she was eventually rescued by the prince, she was kissed and no one else in the castle woke up afterwards.

I don't want to spoil anything, but the tie in with the Holocaust is harrowing and extremely well thought out. This is essentially a fairytale without a happy ending because of what happened, and as we watch Becca try and find out information on her grandmother and try and trace this information on so few clues, you can't help but think about how many stories like this there may have been.

There are mentions of events, what would happen in camps, that seem like the stuff of nightmares, but we all know they happened but even so you just think how relatively recently all that happened. I think of my own family, my grandmother who was interned at a 'work' camp during the war and I'm not going to lie, it actually makes me want to try and find out everything I can because it's something I want to know because even though you can't change what happened, I kinda want to understand it better and like Becca in this story, it reminds me that sometimes it's not the ending that matters, but the fact that there is an actual story there that deserves to be known.

Not everything is tied up in a nice little package in this book - not every question is answered, not every mystery is solved, but somehow, despite the fact you want to know it all, what you do learn feels enough.

I highly recommend this for anyone who has any sort of interest in either of these subjects. I know it's marketed as a young adult book - but it's really so much more than that. ( )
1 vote sunnycouger | Sep 20, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jane Yolenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Canty,ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Windling, TerriCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"...(B)oth the oral and the literary forms of the fairy tale are grounded in history: they emanate from specific struggles to humanize bestial and barbaric forces, which have terrorized our minds and communities in concrete ways, threatening to destroy free will and human compassion. The fairy tale sets out to conquer this concrete terror through metaphors." --Jack Snipes, "Spells of Enchantment"
For Charles and MaryAnn De Lint
and Susan Swartz - Just Because

With Special Thanks to Barbara Diamond Goldin, Staszek Radosh, Linda Mannheim, Betsy Pucci, Peter Gherlone, Mary Teifke, Alissa Gehan, Susan Landau, and Scott Scanlon for their research help. Any mistakes made in the presentation of that material are mine alone.
First words
"Gemma, tell your story again," Shana begged, putting her arms around her grandmother and breathing in that special smell of talcum and lemon that seemed to belong only to her.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765342308, Mass Market Paperback)

A powerful retelling of Sleeping Beauty that is "heartbreaking and heartwarming."

An American Library Association "100 Best Books for Teens"
An American Library Association "Best Books for Young Adults"

Ever since she was a child, Rebecca has been enchanted by her grandmother Gemma's stories about Briar Rose. But a promise Rebecca makes to her dying grandmother will lead her on a remarkable journey to uncover the truth of Gemma's astonishing claim: I am Briar Rose. A journey that will lead her to unspeakable brutality and horror. But also to redemption and hope.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:49 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The tale of Sleeping Beauty and the dark tale of the Holocaust twined together in a story of darkness and redemption.

» see all 2 descriptions

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