"Once Upon a Winters Night" Dennis L. McKiernan

Posted on Fri 14 November 2008 in ClubReading

This is the re-telling of a fairy tale. Camille betrays the trust of her beloved Prince Alain, sentencing him and all of his household to a horrid unknown fate. Camille begins searching for Alain, having been given the clue that he is east of the sun and west of the moon.

This tale works wonderfully as a fairy tale, but because the author has expanded it, the underlying messages of the tale are more obvious. While the tale is about love and romance, it shows the development of Camille, who originally appears to have little backbone or character, although the potential is there. As she goes through her struggles to find her beloved, she is required to use her mind (an unusual thing for women in fairy tales) and even occasionally other charms, like her singing. As the book continues, her resolve to find Alain never waivers, but her mental and emotional strength grows with each challenge.

Fairy tales like this one remind us why handing children everything they want is not a good idea. Adversity and challenges build strength of mind and emotion, and, most of all, character.