Juniper, living deep in the forest with her parents, is stunned to discover that the beautiful girl living isolated in a nearby tower is her sister. When the two girls meet, what begins in fascination and friendship develops into something truly sinister.
A story of jealousy, passion and power, Beauty’s Sister is a dark and gripping reimagining of one of our oldest tales.
“Our parents’ lives are always mysterious to us, yet in that moment I saw something of who they had been. I already knew some of it, of course, not just the part about the simple woodcutter who travelled to a village fair and fell in love with the local beauty, or the part about the beauty’s wealthy father, the town miller, who forbade them to wed, but the final part, about their determination to marry against his wishes, and their flight from his house to the woods. But there was more, I now understood. The shared heedlessness that had drawn the two of them together, and led them to marry against my mother’s father’s wishes. The delight in indulgence that had led my mother to demand the rapunzel. The callow, careless confidence that had sent my father clambering over a wall into a witch’s garden in the middle of the night simply to please his vain and sensuous wife. And what their foolishness cost them.”
“Beauty’s Sister is an exquisite retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale, published as a Penguin Special. Too short to be a novel, too long to be a story, I’d call this a novelette. Penguin Specials are designed to be read in half an hour or so, perfect for a commute or a quick bite between larger narrative fare. I loved it. Bradley’s writing is spare and precise, his images haunting, and his plot reimagines the well-known fairy tale from the point of view of Rapunzel’s darker, wilder sister. Having written my own Rapunzel retelling, Bitter Greens, and being in the final throes of a doctorate on the Maiden in the Tower tales, I have read many hundreds.” Kate Forsyth
“Beauty’s Sister is a superb novelette. A version of the Rapunzel tale, it balances the “feel” of a traditional fairy tale with a distinctly modern sensibility. The key to the story’s success is its total lack of quaintness. Bradley doesn’t attempt to impersonate the Grimms; rather he writes with contemporary directness leavened with a kind of timeless, otherworldly demotic. The pacing, too, is perfect, building, as a good fairy tale must, to a surprising, yet logical, close.” Respectable Street
“Utilising fable tropes such as sibling rivalry, childhood misadventure and sorcery,Beauty’s Sister took me into its world.” Killings, the Kill Your Darlings blog
“A perfect Penguin Special.” The West Australian
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Ebook available in Australia and the US on Kindle.
Ebook available in the UK on Kindle.