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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
2,264972,826 (3.98)222
  1. 50
    Deerskin by Robin McKinley (FutureMrsJoshGroban, MyriadBooks)
  2. 20
    Red as blood; or, tales from the Sisters Grimmer by Tanith Lee (MyriadBooks)
  3. 00
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: YA-geared fiction relating to the Holocaust
  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)
  6. 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.

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» See also 222 mentions

English (96)  Hungarian (1)  All (97)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
This is a superb book. It was written as part of the Modern Fairy Tales" series where modern authors re-tell a fairy tale in whatever way suits them (Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia Wrede is another example), and what Jane Yolen does to tell a story of the Holocaust is just astounding.

It's dark and difficult, especially as the mystery of the modern-day Briar Rose comes out, but it is truly worth reading. I should re-read it . . ." ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
4 stars
This is a holocaust story, not to be confused with the fairy tale of the title. I read every word from the dedication ( For Charles and Maryann de Lint) to the last word of the index and every word was worthwhile. This is a story of a granddaughter searching for her Polish roots after the death of her grandmother. There are few clues, but one of them is her grandmother’s constant retelling of the story of Briar Rose. Like The Book Thief, this story tells about the Holocaust from a different angle. I’ve not read much about treatment of gay people and gypsies except for statements that included them in the slaughter. The most chilling point was that the survival of the main characters was so random. There was much bravery and sacrifice but those qualities had little to do with survival. I know it’s been said before, but telling the story is important. The generation that was there is dying. Those who survived, those who witnessed are dying. The contemporary characters in this book make it clear that there is a wish to forget, to sweep the details under the rug of history. I think books like this one and The Book Thief should be required reading.

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
An installment in Terri Windling's "Fairy Tale Series."
This book is not actually a fairy tale or fantasy at all... it deals with a young woman searching for the truth about her grandmother's life. The grandmother had always been loving, but a little bit eccentric, and obsessed with the story of Sleeping Beauty, or Briar Rose. Her granddaughter, Becca, makes her a deathbed promise to 'find the castle,' which she interprets as a request to find out the truth of how the metaphor of Sleeping Beauty applied to her grandmother's life. Her research takes her to Poland, and the site of one of the Nazis' most horrific extermination camps.
Overall, this was a very good book, but I thought Becca's character was both just a little bit too saintly and too innocent.
Her sisters were treated rather harshly for essentially, being normal.
Also, Yolen's portrayal of Poland seemed to me to be a little bit out of date for 1992 - and as someone who loves old Europe, her portrayal of the country seemed somewhat uncharitable.
I preferred the parts of the book that had to do with the events of the 1940s much more - the narrator of that part of the story, Josef, was much more interesting to me.

Note: for anyone looking for a fantasy that weaves in a girl's WWII experiences, I just finished Lisa Goldstein's 'The Red Magician' (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1070643653) and would highly recommend it. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
This was a truly beautiful and moving tale of one granddaughter's search to better understand the history of her grandmother. It incorporates the tale of Sleeping Beauty in such a way that one is taken aback for a second and then applauds Yolen for doing something that most authors would simply be unable to do and that is breathe new life into this classical tale. She weaves her story in such a manner that you start to feel that you are actually on a journey with the characters to discover every single moment of Gemma's (the grandmother) life. This is a book I would recommend to anyone that wants a truly wonderful read. You will learn from this book about some of our actual history as the human race and you will be changed for the better as a result. ( )
  SoulFlower1981 | Jan 20, 2016 |
For all of her life, Becca has listened to her grandmother, Gemma, tell her own version of Sleeping Beauty. After Gemma dies, Becca realizes that the only thing she really knows about her is that she survived the Holocaust. While going through Gemma's things, the Becca finds clues to the mystery of Gemma's life which lead her to Poland, where she hopes to find out her grandmother's real name and where she came from.

I remember reading this book as a teenager and liking it, but rereading it now, I see just how much I missed. There are so many little details in Gemma's Sleeping Beauty story that are parallels to what happened in the Holocaust. Yolen did a fantastic job of juxtaposing history into a fairy tale. After I finished reading it, I wanted to go back and reread the whole thing again just to see what clues I missed along the way. I definitely recommend this book. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jane Yolenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Canty,ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elwell, TristanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nolte, UlrikeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Windling, TerriCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Windling, TerriIntroductionsecondary 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:22 -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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