|* I was sent this novel by the author for an honest review. Click cover page for summary and purchasing.*|
What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone?
On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:
The king is dead.
The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.
It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means?
Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
When I first received this novella, I was a bit hesitant to read it. On one hand, I wasn't quite sure what else could be added to the story of Snow White. Granted, I do fancy an episode of Once Upon a Time, but I digress lol
We all watched the Disney version of this fairy tale and I suppose I was stuck in the whole "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" idea. But man oh man, did Meredith approach this familiar story from an unexpected perspective.
David Meredith starts the novel by (re)introducing us to Snow White...except she's an older Queen Snow White and has recently lost Prince Charming. Queen Snow White is not the "all is well and I'm so happy" girl you may remember from the original tale. She has suffered great loss, is depressed and as a result is unintentionally negligent of her daughter who reminds her painfully of Charming. The places that once provided Snow White with solace and joyful memories were now the bane of her existence and she fought fiercely to shut out the outside world.
I enjoyed how honestly and clearly Meredith pens the emotional despair Snow is enduring. Every low, dark, sad moment is written in a way that truly catapults you into feeling sympathy (perhaps empathy) for the Queen.
As the story unfolds, Snow White comes face to face with the magic mirror ("mirror, mirror on the wall" anyone?) and is given the "opportunity" to relive some of the happiest and painful moments of her life. She seeks clarity and counsel from the mirror which informs her that it will reveal only what is already within her.
The mirror stated that most people are afraid of their own reflections and don't desire to journey deeper. It made me reflect on how liberating but uncomfortable self reflection can be and I wondered if I would have hesitated if given a "magical mirror" of my own.
I will say that this novel is for adult readers as some accounts of the child abuse a young Snow White endured from the Evil Queen are very graphic and hard to stomach. In addition to this, it tackles depression and suicide.
I had conflicted emotions in regards to the mirror. It displayed amazingly, beautiful high moments but it also caused her to relive morbid moments as well. I couldn't decide if I liked the mirror or wanted to smash it for the scenes it replayed. However, in time, I realized the mirror was showing Snow White how much adversity she had overcome! She was stronger than she was giving herself credit for and had lived a full life. And even more than this, she didn't NEED Prince Charming to feel fulfilled. She loved him, yes but she had overcome a lot by her own strength. *fist pump*
Although this novella is set seemingly after Snow's happily ever after, I feel Meredith unveiled that life doesn't have to stop with pain. We conquer by continuing.
Overall, The Reflections of Queen Snow White was an enjoyable read however I wouldn't label it as your run of the mill "bubbly" fairy tale. Meredith addresses mental health with sensitivity and honesty as we embrace a mourning Snow White. The ending was a bit rushed but it wasn't unbearable.
This is a short, sweet fairy tale of overcoming pain and finding a reason to live again.
I would recommend this novella to adult fairy tale lovers and for anyone struggling with depression or a recent loss. I feel Meredith peels back the layers of such a tough topic with grace.
Special thank you to David Meredith for allowing me to read your novella :)