{Review} SOLD FOR ENDLESS RUE by Madeleine E. Robins

Welcome to A Week of Rapunzel in celebration of our favorite long-haired heroine...
not to mention the launch of Marissa Meyer's CRESS!
Check out my daily schedule of events!
Grab some promotional buttons for your blog
and stop back all week long for fun guest posts, exciting author visits, giveaways, reviews,
and more for CRESS!
Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

THE WORLD WAS ALL SOUND: the crack of brush underfoot, her own harsh panting, the whip of the branches as she pushed her way through them, and behind her somewhere a man's guttural cursing. The girl tasted salty blood from a cut below her eye. There would be more blood if Urbo caught her.

(Page 9, US hardcover first edition)

It's unusual for fairy tales to be as grounded in history as SOLD FOR ENDLESS RUE is. It's a great blend of the realistic and the whimsical. In some ways, Rapunzel can be one of the most down-to-earth fairy tales, something that could actually happen...especially if the story occurred the way Madeleine E. Robins says it did.

SOLD FOR ENDLESS RUE is broken into three points of view and told over three generations. It begins with the tale of little Laura, a stolen child-turned slave who runs away into the arms of a village healer who will help her rise to become a great physician. Laura lives in 13th century Italy and trains at the Schola Medica Salernitana in a time when there are few women. She's looked at strangely and frowned upon by others. Laura ultimately becomes the "witch" of the story, only she's no witch. The middle segment tells the tale of why Laura chooses to take baby Bieta (Our Rapunzel) away from her parents and raise her, and the final segment is from Bieta's own POV.

All the women in the novel suffer in various ways. Laura has been through so much heartache and turmoil, betrayed again and again. She tries to make the world better and give Bieta every opportunity, but in doing so, she goes too far. The book celebrates women and mothers, but also focuses on the way people learn and change and grow. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Mistakes are always made, and in the moment, we can't always see them coming. It felt very honest and real.

Watching the story of Rapunzel play out in the later two-thirds of the novel, as grounded in reality as it is, was intriguing. One of my all-time favorite fairy tale retellings is Juliet Marillier's version of Beauty and the Beast, HEART'S BLOOD. In part, this is because it's grounded in reality and removes the magic that makes the story impossible. The impossible becomes possible. The same holds true for SOLD FOR ENDLESS RUE. While at times, I skimmed some of the medical stuff (simply because it's of little interest to me, personally), I love how much detail was paid to the time period, creating an immersive experience.

SOLD FOR ENDLESS RUE felt very traditional and very Rapunzel, even as it introduced new ideas and explained the "truth" behind the "witch's" motivations for all that she did in stealing and raising Rapunzel. So much of the fairy tale is still there, and I really enjoyed seeing the unique way Robins pulled it all together and created something new.

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

The cover looks very fairy tale, doesn't it? The image is very classic, both like, yet unlike, things we've seen before. It captures the essence of Rapunzel well, and you automatically wonder if this is a Rapunzel story!

I also like the way the dusty purple is pulled from the sky and brought forward for the title, and the lettering reflects the coloring of the moon. It all blends together and creates a lovely harmony!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Madeleine E. Robins
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Macmillan / Tor | Forge
Received: For Review

This captivating historical answers the question, "Why did Rapunzel's mother lock her in the tower?"

After a blighted childhood, young Laura finds peace and purpose in the home of a midwife and healer. Later, she enrolls in Salerno's famed medical school—the first in the world to admit women. Laura and her adoptive mother hope that Laura can build a bridge between women's herbal healing and the new science of medicine developing in thirteenth century Italy.

The hardest lessons are those of love; Laura falls hard for a fellow student who abandons her for a wealthy wife. Worse, her mother rejects her as "impure." Shattered, Laura devotes herself to her work, becoming a respected medico. But her heart is still bitter, and when she sees a chance for revenge, she grabs it—and takes for her own Bieta, the newborn daughter of a woman whose husband regularly raided the physician's garden for bitter herbs to satisfy his pregnant wife's cravings.

Determined to protect her adored daughter from the ravages of the world, Laura isolates the young woman in a tower. Bieta, as determined as her mother, escapes, and finds adventure—and love—on the streets of Salerno.

Bieta's betrayal of her mother's love comes at a terrible price as lives are ruined and families are torn apart. Laura's medical knowledge cannot heal her broken heart; only a great act of love can bring everyone forgiveness and peace.


  1. Thanks for the awesome review. I put it on my to-read list. It sounds like a great fairy tale retelling.

    1. And tell me what you think of this one, too, whee! Hoping to have one more review up this weekend if I finish reading!

  2. I am so impressed with how many Rapunzel retellings you were able to talk about/review this past week. I had no idea there were so many out there.

  3. This sounds like a unique retelling. I love medical stuff so I might find that part more interesting than you did!


Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to stop and comment! I appreciate it more than I can say. I try to respond to each one!