Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters in fast paced and fun plot
Cons: Ending a bit rushed
The Bottom Line:
Dwarf cottage in woods
And death by poison apple
Once Upon a Time, a Great New Cozy Series Began
If you have spent any time on my blog, you’ve noticed I love fairytales. I recap Once Upon a Time, and I’ve read several twists on fairytales aimed at Middle Schoolers. And there’s my whole love of Disney, which is built on fairytales. That’s why, when I heard about Snow White Red-Handed. I knew I would have to read it. A fairytale cozy mystery series? Sign me up! I wasn’t quite sure how it would work out, but I had to give it a try. Now that I have, I only wish I’d read it sooner.
Ophelia Flax and Prudence Bright have found themselves fired from their job as actresses half way across the Atlantic heading to England in 1867. Acting quickly, Ophelia gets herself a job as the new lady’s maid to Pearl Coop, the new wife of American millionaire Homer T. Coop. Prue is also hired as the new scullery maid. Their new job takes them to a castle in Germany’s Black Forest.
Within two weeks of their arrival, a cottage is discovered on their property that some claim belongs to the dwarfs of Snow White fame. At Pearl’s insistence, renowned fairytale scholars Winkler and Gabriel are brought in to investigate the site. Things take a shocking turn when Homer is murdered the next afternoon after taking a bite of a poisoned apple. What have Ophelia and Prue gotten themselves into?
The book is told from the limited third person points of view of Ophelia, Prue, and Gabriel. I wasn’t expecting that, and it threw me a little at first, but I quickly got into the flow of the story and was hooked in no time.
While there is some set up to the story, it is actually handled very quickly, and by the second chapter, we are investigating the potential dwarf’s cottage. The pace never lets up, and the story is filled with great twists and surprises along the way. I never wanted to put the book down, and the further along I went, the harder it was to do so. I did feel the climax was a bit rushed, but everything was logically explained.
Likewise, the characters were wonderful. Obviously, we get to know Prue, Ophelia, and Gabriel pretty well since we are seeing the story through their eyes. The rest of the cast is just as good. I’m hoping that the author finds a way to bring a few of them back in future books even though it looks like the action will be taking place in a different settings.
While the multiple person point of view isn’t something I normally find in the books I read, I do actually like the technique. It was used perfectly to tell us the story, and the switches were always obvious, so I never had a hard time following things.
The fairytale aspect was worked in perfectly. Not only does it drive the plot, but there are references to other tales worked into the narration. I also liked it because it added something different to the book. While definitely still a cozy mystery, it creates a plot that is different from the standard formula, which I loved.
So you’ll want to be caught reading Snow White Red-Handed. This is a fun debut that promises many more magical mysteries ahead.