Friday, May 13, 2011

Excerpt #5: Entwined

And now, for your amusement, some excerpts from a very enjoyable book, Entwined, by Heather Dixon. This book has THREE starred reviews so far, which is pretty darn fantastic, if you ask me. I don't even have ONE starred review. Granted, I haven't published anything yet, but still.

If you haven't heard of Entwined, it is a retelling of the 12 dancing princesses, but it goes way deeper than that. It's about love, and family, and acceptance, and courage, and mourning, and loss, and discovery, and relationships, and all sorts of other things. The main character, Azalea, has all the innocence and kindness of Mary Poppins (in the Disney movie), but is also passionate and capable. At one point, when Keeper asks for a dance, Azalea tells him to, "Snap your own head off." I love that part. :o)

The humor in the book is subtle. Here are some instances of the humor that make me laugh. They're even better in context.

In the very first chapter, the king is going off to fetch the doctor for the queen:

"Really, Azalea," said the King, putting on his stiff hat. "Is everything about dancing to you?"

It was, actually, but Azalea decided now wasn't the best time to point that out.

Later that evening, Azalea finds all ten of her sisters crowded behind some Christmas trees in the ballroom in order to watch the ball:

"Looks... comfortable," said Azalea.

"It's not so bad now that we can't feel our legs." Bramble grinned, her thin lips turning up into a wry smile. "It's a bit squashy, but it's worth it."

Azalea's father (the king) shoves her out of the library and locks the door behind her, all without a word:

"It's just a guess," said Bramble after a moment, "but I don't think he's in the mood to see us."

The sisters attack Azalea and Lord Bradford with potatoes (no excerpt).

Azalea (on horseback) argues with the king while at the dock in the rain:

She threw the coat with all her might at the King. It fell only a foot from her in a soggy pile on the platform.

The stiff (but lovable, in my opinion--all Heather's men are lovable, even the bad ones) Prime Minister Fairweller speaks with the sisters about their father, who is away at war:

"We haven't written him?" said Bramble, her ears red. "He hasn't written us!"

"Yes." Fairweller took a sip of the strong-smelling tea. "Your family is very interesting."

Lord Teddie visits:

"Oh, great muffins," he said, bouncing up and down again. "Everyone knew your mother. I knew her before she boffed off to Eathesbury! Met her at one of Mother's balls. She taught me a bit of the Entwine, you know. I was five."

"You were five?" cried Hollyhock, tugging at his hand. "You weren't of age and they let you go to a ball?"

"Crumbs, yes! Best way to learn how to dance, I say!"

The younger girls crowded about Lord Teddie, hopping with eagerness. Azalea groaned inwardly, thinking of the headache she would have explaining to the girls that they still wouldn't be allowed at balls until they were fifteen.

Fairweller is a guest at their house:

"I can be agreeable," said Fairweller. "If the other party is."

"Oh, well," said Bramble. "There goes that, then."

Trying to get rid of an undesirable suitor:

"Lord Howley," (Azalea) said. "Why don't you tell the King about that marvelous three-party system you were explaining earlier? He'd love to hear it."

Lord Howley pushed a branch out of his face. "I don't think he likes me very much," he said.

"He's that way to everyone. Besides--" Azalea clasped her hands together, still beaming. "It would impress him!"

"Do you think so?" Lord Howley brightened.

"Oh, yes. He loves it when people tell him how to run the country."

When Azalea falls into the stream and is rescued by Lord Bradford:

"Are you all right?" he said. Water dripped down his face and long nose.

He's talking to you! her mind yelled. He's talking to you! Say something clever! Say something clever!

Azalea said, "Mffloscoflphus?"

When Azalea blacks out:

"What happened?" said Clover, wetting a cloth in the basin, and dabbing Azalea's face.

"She had a sort of fit," said the King. "I think her underthings may be laced too tightly."

All the girls, including Azalea, blushed brilliantly.

"Sir," said Eve. "You're not supposed to know about the U word!"

"Am I not? Forgive me."

Just after Azalea hides in the closet to avoid Fairweller:

When the door jangled closed, Azalea burst from the closet.

"Good heavens," said Mr. Bradford. "There's a lady in my coat closet."

Clover recounting to Azalea the story of when a lady wanted her (Clover) to deliver a love letter to Fairweller:

"What did Fairweller say? When you delivered the note?"

"Oh," said Clover, calming a little. "Well . . . nothing, actually. I sort of . . . accidentally . . . tore it to pieces."

"Accidentally," Azalea echoed.

"And threw it in the fire," said Clover.


And, to further whet your appetite, here is one last excerpt, from when the sisters discover the magical place they escape to in order to dance each night:

...They turned the next curve, revealing an archway below. A soft, silver light emanated from it. Azalea's brows furrowed. Bright moonlight? Indoors?

The girls stayed back as Azalea descended to the doorway. Hands quavering, she leaned against the edge and looked.

She stepped back, dumbfounded.

The scene washed over Azalea like a crystal symphony. A forest.

But nothing like the wood behind the palace! Every bough, branch, leaf, and ivied tendril looked as though it had been frosted in silver. It shimmered in soft, misty light.

Azalea inhaled, catching the muted scent of a morning fog, with a touch of pine, and stepped through the doorway into the bright forest. Everything sparkled in bits, catching highlights in glisters as she moved. Even the path beneath her feet. She turned to a glass-spun tree on her left. Silver ornaments glowed among the delicate silver leaves--glimmering glass plums. Azalea touched one. Its edging glittered as it swayed. Next to the ornament, strings of pearls swathed each branch in swooping arcs.

"It's so beautiful," whispered Flora. The girls had followed Azalea through the doorway, their voices hushed.

"Like winter, when the snow's just fallen," Goldenrod whispered.

"Or... the Yuletide trees," said Clover.

Azalea thought it looked a mix of all of them--the gardens, the palace, and the Yuletide--all mixed into one and dipped in silver.

"Az, what is this place?"

Don't you want to read it? I already read it once through and now I'm listening to it in the car. Fun times! Oh, and today is Heather's birthday too. Happy birthday!


Heather Dixon said...

Oh!! And on my birthday, too!! #^_^# #^_^# #^_^#

elegyrl said...

I want to read it!