Monday, November 8, 2010

Susanna's Thoughts on Sevenfold Spell by Tia Nevitt

Have you ever wondered what happens to the other people in the fairy tale?

Things look grim for Talia and her mother. By royal proclamation, the constables and those annoying "good" fairies have taken away their livelihood by confiscating their spinning wheel. Something to do with a curse on the princess, they said.

Not every young lady has a fairy godmother rushing to her rescue.

Without the promise of an income from spinning, Talia's prospects for marriage disappear, and she and her mother face destitution. Past caring about breaking an arbitrary and cruel law, rebellious Talia determines to build a new spinning wheel, the only one in the nation—which plays right into the evil fairy's diabolical plan. Talia discovers that finding a happy ending requires sacrifice. But is it a sacrifice she's willing to make?

The night I agreed to read Tia’s eBook Sevenfold Spell I was in what they call in the Princess Bride “the pit of despair” for various personal reasons. As I opened my Sony eReader, I was nervous. What if I hated the story and had to force myself to read it? What if I had to make up good comments? The first paragraph started with the main character Talia on her knees, looking at the hard boot of the man destroying her and her mother's livelihood. Then my favorite thing in all fiction reading happened: I was drawn into the story from the very first page. And the book didn’t let up. In my night of despair, Talia and I were hanging like old friends laughing and commiserating over the kitchen table. Gentle readers, at 1:30 that morning, I was fighting to keep my eyelids open to finish this story I wanted so badly to know what happened to Talia.

Here was this wart-ridden, homely girl stuck in the middle of a fairytale populated with fairies, beautiful princesses, handsome princes, and happy endings. Always scraping along, Talia gets hit with one disaster after another. Her lover leaves her, she is barren, she befriends young Aurora and treats her like her own daughter only to have her taken away, she tries to drown her sorrows in shallow sexual relationships, and later contracts a serious illness. As I write this list, Talia sounds awfully pathetic, but she isn’t. No matter what happens, she keeps moving forward, pragmatic as ever and with a wonderful ironic sense of humor. In a way, Talia is an odd, R-rated version of Pollyanna.

This story is the mature fairytale. It speaks to the grown woman who has known heartache, adversity, and loss. The woman who doesn’t feel sorry for herself, but strives to improve her circumstances using whatever means available. Doesn’t she deserve a happy ending? Shouldn't she get a prince? Hell yes.

I loved this story and how it engaged me on multiple levels. Emotionally, I followed the story of Talia all the way to her Happily-Ever-After (and not the Little Match Girl or Little Mermaid kind of Happy-IN-in-the-Ever-After.) Intellectually, I observed how Ms. Nevitt deconstructed the fairytale and then rewove it with Talia’s story running counterpoint. Brilliant.

Ms. Nevitt can deliver an emotional punch in a few perfect words. The first person narrative is engaging and witty. Talia’s voice and humanity shines through in her descriptions and interactions with others. The book is saturated with fun sex, although not graphic or erotic. So if you’re wallowing about in a pit of despair or just looking for something fabulous to read, might I recommend Sevenfold Spell? It goes well with a Baileys topped with a large dollop of cream sprinkled with brown sugar. Start the book early in the evening ‘cause you’re going to be up late.

We will post an awesome interview with Tia Nevitt tomorrow so check back. In the meantime, you can learn more about Sevenfold Spell by visiting Ms. Nevitt's website or read an excerpt at the Carina Press website.


Kimber An said...

Yay, Tia!

Tia Nevitt said...

An R-Rated Pollyanna! I love it! Thanks for a fun review.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Books that haul you out of the pit are definite keepers :) and as someone who grew up reading Pollyanna... Yay, Tia!

Abinormal said...

"(and not the Little Match Girl or Little Mermaid kind of Happy-IN-in-the-Ever-After.) "

God I love this sentence and what it carries in terms of the long history of women/self-expression/freedom/sexuality and death, in popular folklore and literature.