Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Real Red Riding Hood

"To make her happy, I slid out the oak chest that contained her belongings.
When I lifted the lid, I saw a red cloth folded into a neat square.
I touched the soft fabric, fine linen. I held it up.
A hood blossomed out into a cloak.
Around the hood was a thick edge of rose satin.
The looped and embellished stitching could only be Grandma's handy work.
I had never seen anything so fancy."
--Davonna Juroe, Scarlette

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy and Historical Fiction
Publisher: BumbleB Media, Inc., 326 pages
Release Date: October 12th, 2012
Source: This e-book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Alright. I am a Disney fanatic. I love fairy tales. Like obsessed. I believe every girl is a princess and every woman deserves her own personal Prince Charming. And because of this I adore reading fairy tale re-tellings or different spins on stories of old. Scarlette by Davonna Juroe was no exception. From the very beginning I was pulled in by this tale and did not want to stop reading. Not only is this another spin on Little Red Riding Hood, it also ties in the true story about the Beast of Gévaudan.  If you haven't guessed by the title this story follows Scarlette, an 18 year old woman who lives in Gévauda, France. She is very close with her Grandmother whereas her mother is absolutely horrible to her. Not only is her homelife miserable, there have been people being attacked by wolves, whether they be of the were fashion or not has yet to be determined. The townsfolk are a superstitious breed and after Scarlette's grandmother is attacked the people turn their eyes to Scarlette as the reason for these attacks. Along the way we meet Jeanne (her best friend). Marie (Jeanne's mother), Francois (a huntsman), the Baron (the wealthy overseer of the province who takes an interest in Scarlette...rawr), and the owner of the tailor shop Monsieur Narbonne who also has an interest in Scarlette. OK, so I cannot give anything more away with the plot because if you are a Little Red Riding Hood fan or any fairy tale lover you will have to read this! 

First of all the writing is excellent! It flows so well and I really felt transported to the 1767 town of Gévaudan. Maybe it is just me but I feel like there is definitely a difference between the writing of a novel versus storytelling. This is storytelling at its best. It reminded me of John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things. It was real life mixed with paranormal and a bunch of fairy tale-esque amazingness. I just loved how much the story moved and changed and always kept me interested. And the plot kept twisting and turning and I was questioning everybody in my head at one point or another. And it is not until the very end that all the pieces really come together.

I absolutely adored the characters! Scarlette is so well-developed and her actions are so true to what an 18 year old girl in her situation would do. The Baron was one of those characters you so want to believe in and he is definitely the Prince that wants to take our princess off into the castle and away from scrubbing floors. And Francois! *swoon alert* I mean both men in this story have their redeeming qualities but I think I'm a little biased because the second I read the word huntsman I immediately pictured Chris Hemsworth sooooo I was mentally a little distracted when I was reading about him...what?! It is so totally normal...isn't it?...Whatever.

Because I am such a huge fan of fairy tales I might be reading too much into this but I could not help but notice small situations where my other favorite fairy tales made an appearance. Such as the townsfolk referring to the wolf as bete...the beast...Beauty and the Beast is my favorite! Scarlette's mother at one point calls her Sleeping Beauty after sleeping for 4 days...A huntsman that saves her life is most definitely involved...enter Snow White. And while usually it is an evil stepmother that we loathe, in this case it was Scarlette's real mother that forces hard labor on her day after day...Cinderella has come calling too, ladies and gents. I LOVED this! It was so subtle but I noticed it each and every time and I always had a sly little smirk on my face when I came across something like that. 

I really, really enjoyed this book. It was a fantastic version of Little Red Riding Hood that intertwined a real life event that occurred in this town. And you might be wondering if they all lived happily ever after...well, you'll just have to read and find out...

4.5/5 Stars

Back that carriage up people! We also have the lovely author herself answering a few questions for us! Welcome to Belle of the Literati Davonna!

The Beast of Gevaudan

Interview With The Author

Where did you get your idea or inspiration for Scarlette?

In January 2010, I was drinking a hot cup of tea and working on an ultra hip Japanese cross-stitch pattern. The Asian designer Kyoko MaruokaGeradraws inspiration from fairy tale scenes. The vintage looking Little Red Riding Hood pattern happened to catch my eye, and I bought it right away to work on.

While I was stitching, some questions came to mind: What if LRRH had really lived? And wouldn't it be cool to retell the tale but make the wolf in the story a werewolf?

Little did I know that those questions were about to take me on an epic journey. One where I'd discover the rich history of the Little Red Riding Hood story and stumble upon one of the most famous alleged werewolves of all time.

I began researching the fairy tale right away and was surprised to find many different versions. One of them was a French rendition called The Grandmother where the wolf in the tale was really a werewolf! I then hoped to find a historical event to use as a backdrop to make the fairy tale seem like it could've really happened in time. 

After pawing around, I discovered something truly horrifying. Some sixty years after French author and aristocrat Charles Perrault penned
his version of Little Red Riding Hood in 1697, nearly one hundred people were ferociously mauled by an unidentified wolf-like creature in the Gévaudan province of France.

Rumors blended with superstition, and the terrified peasantry blamed the attacks on a werewolf. This creature was then named: The Beast of Gévaudan. I knew right there that I had my werewolf. And it made further sense to set the YA in France, based on the rich background there surrounding LRRH.

The rest as they say is YA storytelling history. ;)

So I noticed that there seemed to be small homages to other fairy tales such as calling the werewolf the beast, her mother referring to her as sleeping beauty, evil mother making her do chores like Cinderella, and of course of handsome huntsman a la Snow White, did you set out to do this or did it just come naturally by accident while writing?

Ha! Yes, very astute of you! Tribute was definitely paid to other fairy tales in Scarlette. You also may have noticed that Scarlette loses one of her clogs and finds it later in the forest, paying a bit of homage to Cinderella. It was fun to play and inject other fairy tale references into the story.

Do you see yourself writing any more fairy tale re-tellings trying to incorporate real events that could have explained the initial story?

Absolutely. Or, if not fairy tale retellings, taking mythological creatures and using a story to explain their possible existence.

Did you love fairy tales growing up as a child? Which were your favorites, excluding Little Red Riding Hood, of course :) 

I did love fairy tales growing up. I wished somehow they could've been real. I was that little girl sitting at the edge of a beach, lake, or pool dreaming and pretending to be The Little Mermaid. I was probably even more uber obsessed with fairy tales, because I grew up right next to Disneyland and was a frequent visitor.

The Little Mermaid is my favorite fairy tale, but The Pied Piper comes in at a close second.

Who is your favorite fairy tale heroine/princess? And who is your favorite Prince or hero?  (If the answer is Little Red Riding Hood, you have to add another one too :) )

Favorite heroine would have to be Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid. She had the chance to transform into a mermaid again and go home to her family. But under the Sea Witch's cruel terms, the only way back was by killing the prince. In the end she loved him too much and took her own life instead. Tragic and heartfelt. A real heroine. That story will forever haunt me.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a NA that is more science fiction based entitled, Origin. It is a novel surrounding a legendary creature that could be the missing link.

What are you reading right now or have you read recently that you've loved?

I just read Jeremy C. Shipp's fractured fairy tale retelling of Cinderella entitled, "The Little Glass Soul." It is part of the Death to the Brothers Grimm short story collection and is hilariously funny. Jeremy's storytelling never disappoints.

I'm also about to dive into Hans Christian Andersen's version of The Sandman.

What are some books from your childhood or teenage years that inspired you to be a writer?

Books that I loved when I was a teen was anything by R.L. Stine. I loved Christopher Pike too. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz was a childhood favorite. And I couldn't get enough of Louis Sachar's Wayside School Series, the Garfield comics, and Amelia Bedelia.

Thanks again for hosting me and reviewing Scarlette, Kelly!

Stay creepy! :)

About the Author

Davonna Juroe stays up way too late, has a severe garlic food allergy, and loves all things 80’s. She wonders if all this could actually mean she's a vampire.

In high school, she wore way too much glitter eye make-up. And in between many Disneyland visits and reading R.L. Stine’s Fear Street Series, she joined the high school drama department and may have developed crushes of the serious kind on many a theater boy. After many a broken heart, (*sigh*) Davonna moved to the quaint, wooded village of Kalispell, Montana.

When she’s not writing, she shops @ thrift stores for hot-pink-Jem-and-the-Holograms-inspired-outfits, eats gluten free desserts, drinks tea out of antique teacups, and spends too much time on deviantArt, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Scarlette is Davonna’s debut novel of epic-historical-fairy-tale-proportions, which she knows the Brothers Grimm would say is wicked cool.

Currently, she's represented by fabulous independent agent Roxanne McHenry who is waving wands to make all of Davonna's dreams come true.

If you'd like to purchase a copy of Scarlette you can visit Amazon

If you want more info on Davonna Juroe you can also find her on:

Her Website

1 comment:

  1. Kelly, thanks again so much for having me. This really was an epic review, and I loved answering your questions! *bows*


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