Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...
I was pleasantly surprised by The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf. The cheesetacular cover made me afraid that this was going to be yet another terrible erotica novel--but the sex in here was minimal, and the romance wonderfully realistic.
I know, right? Realistic romance? In a fairytale retelling? Nenia, have you been rolling around in the crack poppies again?
No, Gentle Reader, I have not. This is a genuinely good story.
Our main protagonist is a dwarf named Gretchen who lives in a small village with her family. People treat her poorly because she looks different, and when a bard tells a tale of a farm run entirely by little people, she decides to weather the journey to meet others of her kind so she can settle down and have a family of her own.
There's also Prince Richard, once a notoriously selfish rake and now banished to the glass of the mirror where he is a slave of the evil queen. He has fallen in love with a girl named Angelika, who is known to her people as "The Tattered Princess." She hands out money and kindness to her suffering people even as she, herself, suffers and faces constant threat of the queen.
The way the traditional story was changed, and yet still held true to the basic formula of the original, was impressive. Even more impressive is the fact that Nevitt has some genuinely interesting things to say about love. Namely:
♔ Real love isn't always like in the stories. Sometimes, trust, friendship, and devotion are enough.
♔ Beauty can be more of an impediment than an advantage, and it can make it difficult to know whether people only like you for your looks.
♔ Selfishly hating people for being beautiful can be just as cruel as using your beauty selfishly.
♔ A lot of slut-shaming is borne from the aforementioned jealousy, but we make them sluts because we don't want to be the villains in our own story.
♔ Most people, even the bad ones, are capable of (some) redemption.
Isn't that lovely? All this, in a romance novel! Well, you can just color me speechless with delight.
3.5 to 4 out of 5 stars!