Happily Ever After?
The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith
First Line: “With a shrill keen the two young hawks soared over snow-capped peaks, reveling in the newly come spring.”
Note: The author kindly contacted me (Paige) to see if I would be interested in reading and reviewing his novel in exchange for a free copy. I said, “Yes, please!” Thanks, David!
At its core, this novel can be easily summed up as a “revisionist fairy tale.” We’re introduced to Snow White as a widow. She’s been in a miserable state since the death of her husband. She’s apathetic, both to the needs of her kingdom, and to her own daughter, Princess Raven. Sure, it’s a fairy tale spin-off, but what Meredith is really doing is wrestling with the heavy emotions of bereavement. Initially I wanted to peg this book as “teen fantasy,” but now that I’m finished it feels more like “historical fiction” with a splash of adult romance.
Isn’t it funny how our culture’s familiarity with these Bros. Grimm fairy tales get us thinking of them as actual, historical figures?
As readers, we can’t help but enter a story with “Snow White” in the title with some preconceived notions. Fortunately, Meredith does a nice job of making clear the distinction between fairy tale and reality. Snow White’s childhood is tough. There’s no sugar-coating. We witness her struggles and see how her troubled past has carried over to her adulthood. Our protagonist is woman with a lot of heartache, not a romanticized queen. She’s the victim of serious physical and emotional abuse–which, I think, makes more of an impact on modern-day readers than the “poisoned apple” trick.
While Meredith pushes the boundaries by highlighting the dark sides of Snow’s life, I would have liked to see more development with the secondary characters. I was curious to learn more about her daughter Raven. Instead, we’re solely focused on Snow’s story. It’s told through flash-backs (not my favorite plot technique) and I think this decision really limits the exploration of her other relationships. Sure, we see how Snow meets Charming, and we learn about her hardships, and we see the dwarves briefly…but I was interested to hear about her role as a mother, so it was kind of a let-down when this side of her was glossed over.
Overall, though, I enjoyed the read. I was sorry to see typos (there are a handful, unfortunately), but I look forward to hearing more about his upcoming work inspired by Japanese legend and folklore: Shirobara Falls.
Bottom Line: A fun read for fans of Once Upon A Time or for fan-fiction fanatics ages seventeen and older.