Everyone enjoys a true Happily Ever After tale, but what happens to the people living in the kingdom who are also effected by the hero/heroine's curse? The Sevenfold Spell by Tia Nevitt, the first in her Accidental Enchantments series, centers around Talia, a spinner whose spinning when is taken away after a curse is laid upon the princess destined to become Sleeping Beauty.
Talia's story is heartbreakingly sad. She is a very plain girl with few marriage prospects. She spins to make a living along with her mother and has been saving all of her earnings for her dowry. When the family's spinning wheel is taken and destroyed, Talia must dip into her dowry in order for them to survive. Sadly, this means that even the one man willing to marry her, Willard, is no longer able to do so. His father sends him to a monastery. Talia's life soon takes a dark turn. She's forced down the unsavory path of pleasing men in order to make money and stay alive. At times, her tale takes a graphic turn, which took me by surprise. I like the reason Nevitt took this path, however. In an upcoming interview with the author, she stated, "One of the ideas I had from the start is that Sleeping Beauty would actually be Sleeping Ugly. Therefore, I made Talia to be Aurora’s opposite. Where Aurora is beautiful, privileged, dreamy and pure, Talia is unattractive, poor, pragmatic—and sensual."
As the novella picks up in speed and takes on the familiar tale of Sleeping Beauty, Nevitt's creativeness really begins to shine through. I love the concept of the Sevenfold Spell, which Nevitt was inspired to write after reading Perrault's rendition. In her world, seven fairies work together to create this spell, which can only be complete when each individual blessing has been bestowed. Something goes horribly wrong when blessing the baby princess, and the final part of the spell is skipped when the fairy in charge of casting it must instead counter the curse. This results in an unexpected deformity that haunts the princess. I adored seeing the addition of this flaw and the way Nevitt worked her way through the fallout.
The heart of The Sevenfold Spell is still a fairy tale. The path to get to a happily ever after is long, gritty, and full of unexpected turns, but still worth the journey to get there. I was entranced by the novella's unique perspective and seeing the way the curse destroyed the livelihood of normal everyday people. This is truly a version of Sleeping Beauty that will stick with me, and I'm excited to read more of Nevitt's Accidental Enchantments series, which will all be centered around such perspectives, albeit with new fairy tale renderings. For a sneak peek of upcoming books in the series, watch out for an upcoming interview with the author!
When I first saw the cover for The Sevenfold Spell, I had NO CLUE the book was self-published. It's sold as an e-book through Carina Press, a digital imprint of Harlequin. The title can also be found through popular e-retailers such as BN and Amazon. The cover is what first drew me to this title. It's GORGEOUS. The bare shoulder hints at the book's sensual nature in the beginning. The spinning wheel is at the forefront, lit with wisps of magical dust. A book rests upon the table as though the images have sprung up out of it, reminding me of the way many Disney movies begin with the opening of a book. This cover is perfectly-suited for a fairy tale re-telling.
Check out today's FTF Event Schedule!