This inventive fairy tale with subtle Christian overtones includes enough suspenseful content to make it entertaining, in...


From the Tales of Goldstone Wood series , Vol. 2

Prince Leo and ugly Rose Red make epic, separate journeys across kingdoms and to the dragon-infested doors of Death in this fantasy from an evangelical publisher.

The companion work to Heartless (2010), this illuminates different aspects of the same tale. Mysteriously veiled, kindhearted Rose Red dwells up the mountainside; her grotesque appearance frightens villagers. Leo, not just the wealthy boy he first appears, but in fact the Prince of Southlands, befriends her, yet many believe he’s actually bewitched, not making this choice of his own free will. Daylily, the lovely, spirited—but not especially sympathetic—maiden to whom Leo is promised, lacks the depth of the other two protagonists. After dark forces invade dreams of both Leo and Rose Red and then a dragon attacks and enslaves their land, each is faced with hard choices of the potential costs of their efforts to defeat the rising evil. They receive guidance from ethereal voices whose trustworthiness they must judge. From frequent allusions, it’s obvious that a complex back story provides depth to this faerie world, but readers must often guess at its components, making some aspects of the tale confusing. The conclusion leaves the story unfinished, setting up the next entry in the series.

This inventive fairy tale with subtle Christian overtones includes enough suspenseful content to make it entertaining, in spite of leaving too many somewhat-bewildering threads hanging. (Fantasy. 11-18)

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7642-0782-2

Page Count: 284

Publisher: Bethany House

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

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The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as...

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An unlikely love story set amid the horrors of a Nazi death camp.

Based on real people and events, this debut novel follows Lale Sokolov, a young Slovakian Jew sent to Auschwitz in 1942. There, he assumes the heinous task of tattooing incoming Jewish prisoners with the dehumanizing numbers their SS captors use to identify them. When the Tätowierer, as he is called, meets fellow prisoner Gita Furman, 17, he is immediately smitten. Eventually, the attraction becomes mutual. Lale proves himself an operator, at once cagey and courageous: As the Tätowierer, he is granted special privileges and manages to smuggle food to starving prisoners. Through female prisoners who catalog the belongings confiscated from fellow inmates, Lale gains access to jewels, which he trades to a pair of local villagers for chocolate, medicine, and other items. Meanwhile, despite overwhelming odds, Lale and Gita are able to meet privately from time to time and become lovers. In 1944, just ahead of the arrival of Russian troops, Lale and Gita separately leave the concentration camp and experience harrowingly close calls. Suffice it to say they both survive. To her credit, the author doesn’t flinch from describing the depravity of the SS in Auschwitz and the unimaginable suffering of their victims—no gauzy evasions here, as in Boy in the Striped Pajamas. She also manages to raise, if not really explore, some trickier issues—the guilt of those Jews, like the tattooist, who survived by doing the Nazis’ bidding, in a sense betraying their fellow Jews; and the complicity of those non-Jews, like the Slovaks in Lale’s hometown, who failed to come to the aid of their beleaguered countrymen.

The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as nonfiction. Still, this is a powerful, gut-wrenching tale that is hard to shake off.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-279715-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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These letters from some important executive Down Below, to one of the junior devils here on earth, whose job is to corrupt mortals, are witty and written in a breezy style seldom found in religious literature. The author quotes Luther, who said: "The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn." This the author does most successfully, for by presenting some of our modern and not-so-modern beliefs as emanating from the devil's headquarters, he succeeds in making his reader feel like an ass for ever having believed in such ideas. This kind of presentation gives the author a tremendous advantage over the reader, however, for the more timid reader may feel a sense of guilt after putting down this book. It is a clever book, and for the clever reader, rather than the too-earnest soul.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1942

ISBN: 0060652934

Page Count: 53

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1943

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