This book is yet another fairy tale retelling, shocker, and this one tells a version of the story of The 12 Dancing Princesses. It's a bit creepy, but it's a very good book and well written. I feel like I understood it a lot more the second time around, but it has been a while since I read it :)
I like to assume that most people know basic fairy tales, but I find that not many of the population are as well versed in fairy tales as I am, so I shall give a basic rundown of the story. There are 12 sisters who dance the night away every night and wear their dancing shoes out. The king issues a decree that whoever can discover where they go and who they dance with will get to marry one of the princesses. A soldier returning from the war receives a cloak of invisibility and tricks the girls into thinking he's asleep. He follows them to an underground palace where they dance with 12 men. He brings back a cup and breaks off pieces of the precious metal trees to show the king, and when the soldier exposes them they admit it. There are a few different endings, but they are all happy! There are three that I know of: he marries the eldest, he marries the youngest, or he tells the girls to marry the 12 young men they danced with.
This story has a bit of a twist and I rather like it! The girls don't get along well with their father because he is rather strict. Their mother dies on Christmas night and dancing is the only thing to link the girls to their mother, but their father forbids it. They call him 'Sir' if that's any indication of the relationship. The story basically follows the story line from the previous paragraph. What I enjoy is the relationship of the sisters and how she was able to portray the sisters without muddling them together. I do wish there was more of an individual introduction, but she didn't use all of the princesses all the time so it was a bit easier keeping track of who was where. Magic is involved and it is very interesting because it's nothing I had heard of before, which I liked. I also really enjoyed the ending. This is one of my favorite fairy tales and I think Heather Dixon did a fabulous job when she wrote this!