Fantasy Compilation by Robin McKinley

From the back:
"Robin McKinley, winner of the prestigious Newberry Medal, leads you through the door in the hedge into the lands of the Faery - a world more beautiful and far more dangerous, than the fairy tales of childhood would have us believe..."

This book contains 4 novelettes.
The Stolen Princess:
A little princess is stolen from her bed and many years later, the same fate may befall the daughter of the her surviving sister...

The Princess and the Frog:
Enchantment may lie in strange places.

The Hunting of the Hind:
A royal hunter, seeking a great prize falls into a trap he could never have expected...

The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Evil lurks on an enchanted isle deep beneath the royal castle...

Author: Robin McKinley
Publisher: Ace Edition June 1982, Berkley Edition January 1987, Ace Edition 1988

I spent about 12 years trying to find "The Door in the Hedge", and finally found it when they reprinted it a bit ago.

It's a joy.

It's rather different, to be quite honest, from the rest of McKinley's stuff, because it's not really hers (and yes, the Beauty and the Beast novels aren't originally hers, but the vision she has of them, and thus what she does with them, is entirely), but rather is a series of faerie tales that she retells...but it's still very much her style, which ads a certain something, which is very much to be desired.

"The Stolen Princess" reminds me, now, a great deal of Stardust (or at least portions of it). A Princess is stolen from her family to live among those on the other side of the hedge (or, as the story would have it, the wall) and grows up among the people there, never really knowing her heritage, and then one day falls in love...and the problem of love between two worlds becomes clear.

The other three are more familiar, at least to me, but still are very lovingly retold in a manner so solid and detailed that you'd swear you were having your childhood all over again.

There's a certain gauzy, hazy unreality to the retelling of them all that puts you in the picture, and yet holds you away, a distancing, if you will, that only the really good fairly tales have (or rather, the really good tellings thereof)...and these are it. Treasure this.

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