As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Review: Twelve – Joan Marie Verba

Twelve - Joan Marie Verba

Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale

Reviewer: Jay

Get It On Amazon

About The Book

His love is locked inside an enigma. Can he solve the mystery to make himself a home?

A hidden kingdom. The 18th century. Alden grew weary of battle long ago. And now the honorable soldier seeks to put the horrors of war behind him to settle in a land of peace and start a family. And while an attractive shopkeeper catches his eye, he finds himself caught up in the kingdom’s greatest riddle: the twelve daughters of the king and queen vanish every night and reappear in the morning with their shoes worn out.

Drawn to a shared passion for dancing as he spends more time with the woman of his dreams, Alden can’t avoid a growing involvement with the land’s enchanted magic. And as he does so, he starts to realize that the alluring woman he’s falling for may hold the key to answering the perplexing mystery.

Can Alden unravel a magical entanglement and find his way to happily ever after?

Twelve is a charming fairy tale retelling. If you like upstanding heroes, picturesque romance, and delightful surprises, then you’ll adore Joan Marie Verba’s heartwarming story.

The Review

This is a well written and clever retelling of the ‘fairy story’ of the dancing princesses. Whoever finds out where and why the princesses dance every night will win the hand of one of them.

The story has very detailed worldbuilding, including everyday life in the kingdom, plus interesting explanations for the magic involved. There are subtle references to other stories and legends, such as Shangri-La and the fairy dance in Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

There is an element of fable here too, with a stress on honesty and morality, and there are ‘real world’ religious characters to underpin this aspect of the tale.

There’s also a slight twist, and as well as the main pairing of Alden and Philippa, there is a delightful subplot with a lesbian couple.

Recommended to any readers who appreciate new ways of looking at our myths and legends.

The Reviewer

I’ve been doing book reviews on my website, crossposted or linked to various social media, for a few years. I read a number of genres but I really enjoy all kinds of speculative fiction so thought I’d like to share my views with you. I love sci fi and other speculative fiction because of the way it can, at its best, make us see ourselves in a new light. Quite apart from the exciting stories, of course! I used to be an English teacher, and I’m a writer (fantasy) so I can be quite critical about style etc. but I hope I can also appreciate properly some books that don’t appeal to me personally but might be simply perfect for others. I have, obviously, read widely, and continue to do so.