Entwined by Heather Dixon
I'm a bit behind the times. This book was actually published in 2011, but I just discovered it. I'm sure a lot of people have read it already, but in case you haven't here are my thoughts: Entwined is another story based on the Grimm's fairy tale "The Shoes that were Danced to Pieces"/"The Twelve Dancing Princesses". Since I just read a very similar story (Princess of the Midnight Ball) I was curious to compare the two. Both stories have twelve princesses with flora names (though Entwined's princesses are named in alphabetical order). In Dixon's version, the princesses are mourning the recent passing of their mother. As such, they are not allowed to dance (much to their disappointment). To make matters even more strained the King leaves for war without even saying goodbye, leaving the princesses feeling rather orphaned. The eldest princess, Azalea, finds a secret passage in their room that leads to an enchanted ballroom overseen by "The Keeper". Unlike Princess of the Midnight Ball, Entwined's princesses are not cursed, they choose to dance (although Azalea does make a deal with The Keeper). This is the biggest difference in the two stories. When the King comes back from war he decides that he needs to figure out a way to find suitors for his older daughters without violating mourning etiquette. Of course his logical conclusion is to invite eligible bachelors to stay at the palace for 3 days to solve the mystery of where his daughters go dancing (the princesses made a pact not to tell anyone). The last bit of the book is rather exciting so I won't say anything to spoil that.
My favorite part of this story is the second sister, Bramble. She's just so out-spoken and calls it like she sees it. The princesses are fairly easy to keep straight because they have fairly distinctive personalities. This story seemed to stray a bit more from Grimm's original telling than Princess of the Midnight Ball did. Overall, I think I would've like Entwined more if I hadn't just read Princess of the Midnight Ball. I couldn't help but compare the stories as I read. My expectations were so high, especially after my conversation at the bookstore, that there was no way the book could live up to them. So I recommend reading one or the other or at least separate your readings a fair amount of time.
I'd give it 3.5/5 dancing shoes.