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Victoria: A Tale of Spain by Sarah Scheele

Victoria: A Tale of Spain

by Sarah Scheele

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This suspenseful 18'th century story set in Spain was subtly creepy and one of the most memorable stories I have ever read. The plot is a loose retelling of Snow White- perfectly suited to the remote, and barbaric culture of historical Spain, since Snow White is one of the darker and more graphic fairy tales. Victoria is the second daughter of a Spanish nobleman, one of five lonely princesses locked up in her father's fortress. Her father is a harshly bigoted control freak,terrified of the increasing threat of Moorish invasion, with a whiny wife, and a hysterical love of hack medicine and hokey religion. Bella, the oldest, and the Snow White figure, has always been scrutinized and disliked by her parents for her honesty about their precarious situation, her need for freedom and her trusting personality. Victoria, naturally cynical, withdrawn and manipulative, thinks she has it made, while the other sisters, especially the spoiled hedonistic Neva, sneak out to wild parties and flirtations with commoner men, behind, obviously their parent's backs. When Bella confesses that a masked stalker has been watching her for months, and then suddenly vanishes, it is up to Victoria to rescue her sister, and discover the identity of her kidnaper. Along the way, she meets the odious Mrs Corkum, and her two nieces, the delusional and condescending Alaina, and the trapped Lucy, so like Bella in personality and situation that Victoria feels immediate recognition and kinship. When at last her game of cat and mouse with Bella's kidnaper, the mysterious Hirado, she finds herself tested in ways she never imagined.
This story was mesmerizing and quietly, in a tame sedate way, viciously horrible. Every character was vivid and memorable, from the cold realist Victoria, to the brave and victimized Bella, to the greedy Corkum, to the silent Hirado, a living allegory of justice and consequences. There is a little romance, and even some amazingly funny humor in the middle, but on the whole the story is a light sort of horror. If you pick this book up, you will never able to put it down. And you'll leave it asking yourself one little question. Who really is the fairest of them all? Five star. ( )
  virtuosoMS | Feb 16, 2016 |
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