Today’s team review is from Sue.
Sue Blogs here https://suelbavey.wordpress.com/
Sue has been listening to an audio version of The Slipper And The Tree by G. Lawrence.
The Slipper and The Tree is a retelling of the classic Cinderella fairy tale but there are many differences and unexpected twists in this fresh feminist take on an old classic.
“Witches become trees when they die.”
The existence of witches is a fact that our main character, Nion, becomes aware of when her aunt comes to visit soon after her mother is killed by her nobleman father. She has been banished to the kitchen rather than continuing a noble life as his child, since she is female and cannot be his heir. This is a brutal man’s world in which only male heirs are valued and women who cannot produce such offspring are cast aside or murdered. Nion’s mother was a witch and has now become a tree in death. A dead witch is able to design a comfortable room within their tree for the use and safety of other witches. Nion’s aunt shows her the tree that her mother has become and gives her its key.
In this version of the story there is not one ball, but three. After each ball the girls rejected by Prince Charming show their desperation to be exactly who he is looking for by mutilating their bodies. What other hope can they have in a society which only values women for their ability to procreate and provide a male heir. They have to marry well to survive at all costs.
There is much less romance in this story than in the traditional Cinderella story, which I appreciated. There is, however, plenty of magic and whimsy with spiders and vegetables who become horses and the coach almost stealing the show. The wonderfully warm and richly voiced narration of Charles Johnston makes it an enchanting story. It is easy to imagine him sitting by the fire with a book on his knees reading to a circle of enraptured children. He is an absolute pleasure to listen to and captures the relevant emotions and moods required by the different parts of the story.
Luckily Nion realizes what she must do in order to be happy for the rest of her life and there is just enough romance to enable her to have a happy ending on her terms – which is very different to the traditional ending for Cinderella.
Nion’s stepmother, who is not wicked, but is understandably jaded having acted as a kind of brood mare to three husbands intent on producing a son, is also allowed a happy ending, finally.
I really enjoyed this story and in particular the audio narration and would highly recommend it to anyone who likes an alternative take on a fairytale.
This is a tale of witches and wishes, tales and trees, stepmothers, spells and a girl who sleeps in the ashes by the fire…
But it’s not the one you know.
The Slipper and the Tree is a novella, and part of the Retold of Old Series by G. Lawrence.