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The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Ruth Sanderson

twelve dancing princesses_sandersonSet in the 15th c., costumes and knowledge about period dancing provided by Nan Hurlburt.
One major change that I liked about this version is the disappearance of each of the princes who tries to discover where the 12 girls are going to.  In some other stories I’ve read, the punishment for failure is death.
I also like the introduction of Michael as the garden boy to Lina, the youngest of the sisters.  In some versions, the hero is represented as a hardened soldier, a bit older, and is matched to the eldest girl.  In this one, there is an appropriate similarity in ages between the potential match that is a modern update, but welcome.
The cause of the enchantment of the princes (without spoiling it) is one hat I haven’t seen before, and quite unexpected.  I don’t quite understand the conditions of the spell that is cast but since it is just a fairy tale, perhaps we don’t need to.
The princesses’ costumes are of course, glorious in golds, greens, and blues, some with gold thread trim, others with ermine and fur collars, some with veils, and netting, and tall pointed hats with veils flowing down.  Lina, the simplest adorned, has a coronet for her headdress and a golden gown with a blue underdress, like a vision of the sun on a clear sky.  It’s no wonder that Michael loved her best.
Sanderson has some other fabulous stuff out there. If you think you’d like this book, check out some of these other titles:
  • Cinderella
  • The Enchanted Wood
  • Goldilocks
  • Saints: Lives and Illuminations
  • The Snow Princess
This entry was posted in: Reviews


Lauren Miller is a Midwestern born writer with a passion for Jesus, the written word, and dogs. She has two decades of experience in the library field and reviews books for the Historical Novels Review (UK). She likes to spend her free time enjoying period films, discovering new reads, and being surrounded by other people’s pets. Lauren, her husband, and their wily Maine Coon (who isn’t quite a dog) live in Missouri. You can learn more about Lauren’s writing at

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