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Allerleirauh by Chantal Gadoury: A Book Review

Allerleirauh
Author: Chantal Gadoury
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Chantal Gadoury
Release Date: 2015
Pages: 236
Source:  This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Once Upon a Time… 

     In the Kingdom of Tranen, a King makes a promise to his dying wife to only remarry someone who has her golden hair. With time, the King finds his eyes are turned by his maturing daughter. Realizing her Father’s intentions, Princess Aurelia tries to trick her Father by requesting impossible gifts: dresses created by the Sun, Moon and Stars and a Coat made of a Thousand furs. 

     When Aurelia discovers his success, she decides to sacrifice her privileged life and escapes the Kingdom disguised by the cloak and under a new name, “Allerleirauh.” 

     Aurelia enters the safe haven of the Kingdom of Saarland der Licht, where she is taken under the care of the handsome and gentle Prince Klaus. Hoping to not be discovered by her Father’s courtiers, Aurelia tries to remain hidden under her new false identity. 

     Unexpected love is found between Aurelia and Prince Klaus and is challenged with an approaching arranged marriage between the Kingdom of Saarland der Licht and a neighboring ruler. With the possibility of discovery hanging in the air, Aurelia must face the troubles of her past with her Father, and her fears of the future in her journey of self-discovery. 

     My Review: Allerleirauh is a retelling of the lesser known Brothers Grimm fairytale, “Donkeyskin.” When Princess Aurelia’s mother dies, her only request is for the king to marry a woman as beautiful as she with golden hair. Princess Aurelia’s father has been looking for brides that resembled his late wife, when finally he gives up looking and settles on marrying his daughter. Desperate to escape the marriage to her father, Aurelia tries to stall the wedding by making impossible requests. When the requests are fulfilled, Aurelia flees to the kingdom of Saarland der Lict, where she meets a handsome and gentle prince named Nikolaus.

     Princess Aurelia is, at first, very naive. She is a woman that yearns for her father to be proud of her. Yet, she realizes that her father does not love her. When she flees her kingdom, she is an emotionally-distraught young woman. Yet, in her time with Prince Nikolaus, she embarks on a journey of healing and self-recovery. She eventually grows into a wise, headstrong, and courageous woman. Therefore, readers will root for Princess Aurelia as she tries to start a new beginning to love and be happy with herself. She is a person that anyone can relate to when they experience a personal tragedy and trauma in their life.

     Overall, this book is about friendship, love, choices, and hope. It is about a woman who searches for her own identity. The message of this book is that even though there are bad times, there are also good times. This book took a while for me to get into because the first half was a very uncomfortable read, for it was very disturbing. Yet, the second part sucked me into the book, and I did not want to stop reading. I really liked the blossoming romance between Prince Nikolaus and Princess Aurelia. It starts out as friendship and both of them grow to love each other through their love of mutual understanding and respect. Therefore, while the first part of the book was disturbing, it was very important because it helps build the basis of their relationship. Therefore, I really loved the main characters, and I liked watching them grow. Even though this is a young adult book, I believe that this is more suitable for older teens. This is because there are some graphic parts in this book. Nevertheless, this was a beautiful retelling with a strong message. I recommend Allerleirauh to fans of Juliet Mariller, Robin McKinley, and Sharon Shinn.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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