Monday, July 14, 2014

A Red Cape, Grandma, Wolves, and Woodcutters

I'm reading Scarlette by Davonna Juroe. A fascinating retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, it's very paced. (When I say paced, I mean the narrative doesn't move at rocket speed! However, paced doesn't mean S.L.O.W. either. For me, the narrative of a paced book is even. Although I can devour books that are action-packed (move fast), as a general rule, I don't like books that inch along. (Little, Big by John Crowley being an exception!) In-between, paced books tend to have a nice rhythm and speak to the author's confidence in their story.) Okay, got that!?!

Image via Pinterest/shimey ruiz

Scarlette is in a heap of trouble and it doesn't let up. There are so many questions about what in the heck is going on and who is—or who is not—to be trusted. Set in 18th century France, the novel's plot and world building  draws on the "infamous and horrific Beast of the Gevaudan attacks of the 1760s." Told in Scarlette's point of view, everything advances through her eyes, and we, the reader, are as uncertain about the events that unfold as she is. The strict narrative style lends itself to a sparseness of detail that I appreciate and precludes any info-dumping.

A red cape, Grandma, wolves, and woodcutters are all present. So is an interesting nod to Charles Perrault, the teller of the dark version that inspired this particular retelling according to the Author's Note at the beginning of the book. One of the main characters has a dog named Perrault. Clever. Okay, it got a smile out of me.

To be honest, the story is a little crazy! It's windy, twisty path encourages guessing. How will all this end? I haven't figured that out, but I'm totally enjoying this read!