BRIAR ROSE, Jana Oliver, Macmillan-London, 474 pages, £6.99, ISBN: 9781447241096, available from Amazon.com, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
Briar Rose believes in fairy tales, magic and family curses. Briar is on the eve of her sixteenth birthday and her parents tell her to be sure and be home before midnight, because they are all expecting Briar to fall asleep for 100 years at midnight.
Briar lives in Bliss, Georgia and thinks that her parents are just over protective and her family is in a feud with Joshua Quinn’s family. They are forbidden to be in contact, but he gives her a silver charm bracelet for her birthday. The charms are all based on fairy tales.
As Jana writes, “They’d spent every minute together, until one of them died and came back to life. It had never been the same from that day forward. And it never will be again.” This is how our adventure begins.
When Briar falls asleep, she awakens in a medieval village being chased by metallic wolves. It is a village where Princess Aurora has been sleeping for over ten years and all who have tried to awaken her have ended up dead. (Not the Disney version here.) Briar is saved by Ruric, who works in the stables and he tells her about the situation she has awakened into.
Briar’s friends, Joshua, Pat, and Reena-a root speller, casts a spell and go on a mission to find Briar and bring her home. The spell comes with a price and Joshua agrees in order to save Briar.
Their adventures in the strange kingdom, Ruric’s true identity, and Briar finding her true destiny are only parts of this excellent wonderful story. Jana has again found her unique way to create a new world based on a familiar story and turned it on its ear to tell us a charming love story.
Jana has a wonderful talent to take the ordinary fairy tale and turn it into a flowing, well written adventurous love story. This deserves a wider audience and would appeal to the teen audience and the adult readers as well.