Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

Genre: Fantasy, fairy tale re-telling 

Publisher: Self

Rating: 4.5

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. 

The Reflections of Queen Snow White lets us into the world of an aged Snow, mourning the death of her Prince Charming. There is her daughter's royal wedding to plan, and court qualms to settle, but Snow is unable to step back into the world of living. By stumbling across her stepmother's enchanted mirror, Snow relives scenes from her past and makes important decisions about life ahead.

'Reflections' is an apt title for this short novel. It's not an action packed book, so don't expect sword fights. Instead, this is a thoughtful character study of a woman who was grossly abused as a child, finally found solace in a husband, and then lost that solace with his death. How does she struggle past such trauma and embrace life again?

I found the beginning a tad slow, but soon found myself engrossed in the story. The Reflections of Queen Snow White remains true to the real Snow White fairy tale (not the Disney version), and I loved learning about Snow's journey from the clutches of the wicked Queen to her own struggles in court. More importantly, her story transcends the fairy tale origins to discuss very real topics like child abuse, grief, and self-empowerment. 

Snow is a three-dimensional character who has her own faults and weaknesses. Prince Charming is also more than the stock hero we all know and love -- he's a great husband, yes, but also a man who doesn't hesitate to inflict violence against those who threaten his loved ones. I love those contradictions. This novel might be not for the squeamish -- there are some graphic descriptions of abuse Snow suffered as a child -- but I definitely recommend it, even for readers who might not be interested in fairy tale retellings. The Reflections of Queen Snow White is so very much more.


  1. Such a great review! There has been a ton of buzz about this book all over. It intrigues me and I hope to read it soon.

  2. I love this story. I have a weakness for fairy tales, but as the reviewer stated, this story goes way beyond that to explore complex issues and emotions. It's one of the best books I read last year and I highly recommend it.