Everyone knows that stepmothers are evil, but rarely do we stop to wonder why.
Growing up, Dolce knows she is different from everyone else on the island she calls home. She's taller than even the men, and only her mother shows her any affection. She does manage to gain some respect by working as an assistant to the mirror maker. Everyone knows making mirrors renders fingers and toes pink and hands shaky, so the people of the island are grateful that it's Dolce exposing herself to risk instead of their children. When her mother dies suddenly, Dolce flees the island and finds a whole new world in the city of Venezia, complete with family, beauty, and happiness. But can she escape her mysterious history? Napoli writes a revisionist version of “Snow White” that offers depth and cleverness and delight. Her characters transcend their original forms and expand their roles while remaining true to their original spirits. Only when Napoli strays from the storyline of evil and follows that of good, which is far less tantalizing and complicated by comparison, does the book lose its enchanted hold. Luckily, the interlude is brief, and readers are treated to a profound vision of painful love at the end of the book.
A new and interesting romp over a well-worn path through the forest of fairy tale. (author’s note, bibliography) (Fantasy. 12-18)