Review – Bryony and Roses

Posted May 7, 2016 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of Bryony and Roses by T. KingfisherBryony and Roses, T. Kingfisher

It didn’t surprise me when I finished reading this and read T. Kingfisher’s note that it was inspired originally by Robin McKinley’s Rose Daughter. It’s definitely not the same story, but something of the same atmosphere came across, and of course there’s the gardening aspect which is important in both. This explores the force that punishes the Beast rather more, I think: rather than a long-standing curse which fades into a known factor in the background, the Beast’s curse is very much an active thing which can be affected by things that Bryony and the Beast do.

There’s a rather darker background to this story, too, with the ivy spirit wound throughout the story, the dead girl and the bloodstained room, the cruelties of the ivy spirit. There’s also more sense in why the curse came to be, explaining both the cruelty of it and the helping magic of the house.

I thought it was a very good interpretation, and it’s amazing how authors can make the Beast loveable, every time. He’s kind and a bit snarky and he’s a craftsman, and he’s also willing to muck in and work with Bryony in her garden.

And Bryony’s family is pretty satisfying too, the support of her sister and the fact that she’s basically the support for her family, with her father long out of the picture. It’s got all the elements of the traditional fairytale, but gives them more depth and takes it in surprising directions.

Rating: 4/5

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