‘Dearest’ by Alethea Kontis: Third in ‘The Woodcutter Sisters’ series


Rating: 5 stars

“Dearest” by Alethea Kontis may be the best of the three stories in the series thus far. Kontis’ clever writing and small connections to other fantasies that float throughout the story keep a smile on the face of the reader. This story is about Friday, the magical seamstress, who becomes part of a fairy tale told by both Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen.

Featured in this story are several of the other magical sisters, including Sunday, the protagonist of the first book, “Enchanted,” which is about the frog and the princess. The days-of-the-week names are a bit confusing, but it all works. The story also begins with the messenger from the second book in the series, “Hero,” who had been a minor character but ends up playing a fairly large role in this story.

Friday is one of the most likable of the sisters — she is loving, warm and compassionate — and she cares for the many children orphaned by the ocean her sister Saturday created in “Hero,” the second book in the series. Three of the orphans are her Darlings: Michael, John and Wendy.

The love story between Friday and Tristan, one of the swans, is beautiful. And Kontis includes several effective plot twists throughout the story. These fairy tales are closer to the violent Grimm tales than the laundered Disney versions. But they are also more compelling because of that extra dose of the harshness of the real world.

“Dearest” will be a difficult book to put down. This reader finished it in one sitting. Enjoy.

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for review purposes.