Patricia Wrede takes the lesser known Grimm Brother's fairy tale Snow White and Rose Red and places it in a magical, Elizabethan England. She starts each chapter with a passage from the original fairy tale, which is a fun way to see the tale in the midst of her creative changes. In keeping with the time period, Wrede has her characters speak Elizabethan English. The dialogue is a little hard to follow at first, but in the flow of the story, it soon becomes easy to understand. I love this retelling, because it retains the heart of the fairy tale, while placing it in an interesting time and place.
Sisters Blanche and Rosamund live near the edge of the forest with their widowed mother. To earn a living they gather herbs from the forest and sell herbal remedies. At a time of witch hunts and harsh religious piety, their lifestyle is seen as suspicious. Their lives become even more at risk, when an enchanted bear enters their cottage and the women begin working to save him from the evil enchantment. This retelling is a good book for lovers of fairy tales and Shakespeare's England.