In a tale from childhood, Twisted by Bonnie M Hennessy, takes you on an alternate journey to a dark and bleak tale of love and courage, filled with revenge and regret as well as a strength of spirit.
Looking at the story of Rumpelstiltskin’s rage and sadness, you follow The life of Aoife and a different path of how the lives of two such differing characters really came to being.
Aoife, the beloved daughter, is the strength of her family as she takes on the family farm to keep their finances afloat, while at the same time trying to keep her father out of trouble. He is deep in drink and gambling, but Aoife’s goodness and strength of heart endears her to all those that see her dilemma.
When a young man of money happens to see her, he decides that she should be his, for unbeknownst to the town he is the Duke of the realm and will have what he fancies. Yet she rebuffs him, and while she has no idea of his identity, she has no time for a man with such airs. As the Duke determines to have her, he finds a way through the weakness of her father, with both his drink and gambling. Joining the game and urging the poor man gamble his daughter away on a sure hand, all is lost when the hand does not come through. Her father through his muddled thoughts brags of her ability to make gold out of straw, his attempt to brag about her farming, but the Duke understands it to mean something far different.
Aoife, who has always found solace in the woods hides her pain and anger, as nature responds, her spark of spirit draws her magic, that of her kindness and regrets, but it is another, a strange interloper that finds his own home in the forest that takes notice of her pain and anguish as well as her affinity for magic and her beauty. So begins the strange friendship that starts with fondness and love and turns to hate and anger, that takes a tortured soul into the very depths of despair.
As Aoife finds herself in trouble trying to live up the talents her father has bragged about, the stranger from the woods uses his own twisted magic to help. Aoife, soon finds herself in love with the Duke, and with child. The temper of her rescuer from the woods sparks her urgent need to find his name, and takes her into further danger as she tries to save the child of her love.
The twisted tale of love and darkness builds in a direction both like and unlike that of the fairy tale of youth. Hennessy does a great job of holding true to the outline of the work but adds more depth of character, making you feel both appalled and sad, yet as the same time, the tension keeps you intrigues as to how it will all come together.
If you enjoy magic romance and danger, you will love this take on a fairy tale of old. It is darker and more thought provoking, but yet carries that same feel of the fear you felt as a child. Hennessy brings the tale to stark life and into the twenty first century.
This would be a great book for a reading group or book club.