As a child I used to own these huge books, like folded thick cartons with enticing pictures and typography for children. Each books contain fairy tales like Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and even Bambi (I’m not sure though if this one’s from Disney). I even had a pop-up book of Pocahontas. Of course, I didn’t read them. I didn’t understand them yet and if my memory serves me right I had them before I really learned how to read. Technically most of the time I just stared at the colorful pictures inside. Hence my not remembering the entire stories of those fairy tales.
Briefly, I know that Cinderella was enslaved by her step mom and she lost her shoe and then the prince found her and they lived happily ever after. Bell from Beauty and the Beast fell in love with the beast and they lived happily ever after. As for Bambi and Pocahontas, well, I don’t know. LOL.
However, Snow White, just like Cinderella, was enslaved by her step mom and she escaped from those mischievous hands and was taken care by the seven dwarves and ate an apple and died—but not really—and woke back from the dead because Prince Charming kissed her. Voila, happily ever after. You would know by now that I never really liked fairy tales that much.
David Meredith was kind enough to give me a complimentary copy of his book The Reflections of Queen Snow White, in exchange for an honest review. In fact this was the first time that someone emailed me asking for a review. Clearly I was flattered because who am I even to review? Yeah, I know I’d been posting a few book reviews since I started blogging but, to speak honestly, I’m not educated in that manner to offer a scholarly review. I still accepted it anyway simply because who am I to refuse! (And who doesn’t like a free book anyway? Lol)
Kidding aside, here goes the synopsis:
What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone?
On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:
The king is dead.
The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.
It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means?
Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White
The pages I read count 95, but in Goodreads it says 155. It took me a while to finish the book because my eyes seriously have a hard time reading long form on my phone screen, or laptop, for that matter.
Anyhoo… Having said that I don’t really like fairy tales that much, at first I didn’t know what I’m exactly up to with The Reflections of Queen Snow White. So I kept any standards and expectations at bay to focus on what’s “in the moment”. I say that the first few passages blew me away for its delicate, detailed writing and beautifully painted imagery. It’s like watching a 3D animated movie. I swear I can almost taste and smell the entire environment. Speaking of the author’s writing style it was downright flawless. I loved how he picked the words carefully and how it rolls smoothly on my tongue like a soft, melted black chocolate (Okay, that’s probably a weird metaphor but anyway…). The words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs—its construction suited perfectly to what the characters were: royalty.
The story revolved throughout Queen Snow White’s deep pondering about what she’d gone through as a child in the hands of her step mother, the effects of the King’s passing, and how she can once again find happiness amidst the sorrow within her. This, of course, would be impossible without the help of the Mirror.
There were two completely different characters with the same name in the story: first the little princess Snow White and second the Queen herself. The little Snow White’s story snuggles in between Queen Snow White’s conversation with Mirror.
So, what can I say about little Snowy? Her reflections—memories of her hard-fought past—proved how tough and brave of a girl she was. Like an iron princess—no doubt. Quite admirable. There were vivid, gory details of her enslavement under the hands of her step mother. Quite like how today’s generation puts it: childhood ruined. I may not have grown up with the influence of fantasies and fairy tales, I can categorize The Reflections of Queen Snow White one of the childhood ruiners. It honestly offered me a completely different, and un-sugarcoated, tale of the children classics like those from grim stories.
Fast forward to her majesty after the King’s passing, the Queen is utterly whiney, absentminded, stubborn, and just plainly weak and dependent. A total opposite of her young self. Regardless of how encouraging and kind her right hand, Erfreut, was—and despite mirror’s persistence to make her understand—she just. sat. there. weeping. unstoppable. She’s so annoyingly dramatic I wish I could slap her. She angered the tiniest feminist in me. Yeah, I understand that Prince Charming saved her and all but does her happiness solely depend upon the presence of a man? Can she not stand on her own as an independent, grown Queen? Doesn’t she have the outfit to fix things herself? I thought if I were to write the same plotline and character, I would have written a badass Queen—savagely shoving whoever goes against her. But that’s just me.
Mirror almost literally had to smack all the good qualities she has directly into her face just so she would realize that all this whining and weeping wouldn’t help in any way. In other terms, Queen Snow White had to learn everything (as if she learned nothing from the past) the hard way—again and again and again and again and again. But just when I thought she would never learn, it only two two pages—last two pages—to redeem everything I hated about Queen Snow White. Forget about the mandatory build up of a rising action to put the story at its peak, suddenly like a magic, the ending left me teary eyed—I wish I could give her a hug.
In this book, not only did Snow White reflect about her past, there were instances that I too was able to reflect on my own happiness and conflicts that nobody knows but me. The Reflections of Queen Snow White is about bravery, finding all the good reasons and courage to move forward however catastrophic our lives turn out to be. And that we can never be happy unless we let go of the unfortunate past holding us from being free. This, of course, can only be obtained by means of looking deep within ourselves—not depending it from any one else.