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Golden (Once Upon A Time) Mass Market Paperback – February 28, 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 6-10–This inventive reworking of a fairy tale explores issues of identity, self-perception, and true love. The story features two beautiful young women. The first, Rapunzel, is shunned by her vain mother at birth because she is odd looking (completely bald). Melisande, a sorceress, takes the infant as repayment for a theft from her garden, and raises and loves her as if she were her own daughter. The other beauty is Rue, the sorceress's real daughter, imprisoned for years in a magic tower by a wizard who once sensed thoughtlessness in Melisande and decided to teach her a hard lesson. As Rapunzel matures, her increasing ability to see into people's hearts allows her to discern the other girl's presence in Melisande's heart. When growing unrest results in suspicion directed toward the sorceress, she and Rapunzel, now 16, must flee from their farm, accompanied by a tinker and his boy, an orphan named Harry. Melisande takes them to the tower where she hopes Rapunzel will figure out how to save Rue, and the result is a happily-ever-after ending for all. Strong characters, a clever plot, some interesting moral dilemmas to ponder, and a touch of romance make this version of the fairy tale worth a second look.–Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (February 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416905804
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416905806
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,142,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Before Rapunzel was born her mother had her husband steal a certain leafy herb from her neighbor's garden. When the Sorceress, Melisande, discovered this theft she made a bargain with the man that should his wife not be able to make room for her child's arrival (if it was a girl) then he would give the infant over the Melisande as recompense. The vain and selfish mother only cared about her own actions and her own beauty that was wound up in her beautiful golden tresses she cared for daily. When Rapunzel was born with no hair at all her mother rejected her, and she went to live with Melisande (who names her after the offending leafy herb her father stole) in a far away land.

Rapunzel grows up an outcast largely due to the fact that her hair never does grow in. The second part is because of Melisande, whose disconcerting abilities to look into people's heart unnerves all whom she meets. When Rapunzel is a young girl of thirteen she meets a wandering Tinker named Mr. Jones, who gifts her with a small copper colored kitten, and his foster son Harry. Rapunzel names the cat Mr. Jones and becomes fast friends with Harry, who cares not at all about her bald crown and brings her many gifts of headscarves from around the world.

When Rapunzel is 16 Melisande and her have to flee their home because of a mob's attempts to kill them both. On this journey Melisande reveals a terrible secret, one that upends Rapunzel's entire world. The only Mother she has ever known has another daughter, and to make matters worse the only reason Melisande took in Rapunzel in the first place is because within her Melisande recognized the ability Rapunzel possessed to break the enchantment her daughter, Rue, has been a prisoner of for many years.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Craving what she can't have, our unborn heroine's mother forces her husband to climb into their neighbor's yard and steal a leafy plant that tastes of parsley, called to those who know it as rapunzel. Not enough, the husband again crosses the boundary for another bushel when he is caught red-handed and forced to strike a bargain with the great sorceress/neighbor: Until the child is born, the madam may have as much rapunzel as she likes. But when the child is born, she must love the babe just as it is, for that will mean she will love whatever it becomes. If she cannot do that, the sorceress will claim the child in payment for the rapunzel.

16 years later, Rapunzel is shocked to learn that the one who raised her with so much love, is a great sorceress, and one who has a daughter. And when she is faced with the opportunity to help someone she does not know and find her own heart, she will do whatever she can to complete her task, even if it means losing what she had for the sake of someone's cursed life...

This book has new plots and characters that could only be told by Cameron Dokey. And most of all, you feel for Rapunzel and hopes that she succeeds, and that she ends up happy with the one she loves.

And I disagree with the first review. The ending was totally new and unexpected. And yes, the problem with happy-endings is that at some point you can predict which characters end up together, but that only makes you more anxious to see how things work out. If you want something unanticipated, read Go Ask Alice.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have to agree that the book's events surrounding Rapunzel and Rue were too short - their relationship didn't feel that substantial. Thus, the story was somewhat anti-climatic and predictable. However, Dokey does do a good job in building Rapunzel's childhood, character, and relationships. I think Dokey has an amazing understanding of the human heart and has a gift for expressing it in ways that can touch anyone - this book is no exception. "Golden" really dives into what it means to love and sacrifice, just as all of Dokey's other stories. Even with some shortcuts in the plot and ending, the story is pleasant and worth the read - even if only to gain insight into the human capacity for love.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love retelling, my love of them was started by Robin Mckinly's Beauty. This book is horrible! I couldn't follow the dialog, and half the time the characters were interrupting each other with pointed stuff that didn't have anything to do with the story. It was such a short story that I expected it to be simple and straight to the point, but no! It kept taking all these pointless tours through territory that was boring, time consuming, and hard to follow. I will never read another book by this author again. Please don't waste your time.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am an adult and I simply and quite frankly thoroughly enjoy this series for a young adult audience...it's just plain fun to read. Golden is not my first encounter with this series (at this point I've read nearly all of them...only four more to go) and while it's not the worst in the lot (Water Song, IMHO), it's not the best either (Before Midnight, Scarlet Moon, and The Storyteller's Daughter are my personal favorites). I also have to admit that Dokey is one of my favorite authors writing for this series, two of her books are listed as my personal favorites. Golden is an adaptation of Rapunzel with a few new twists which add to the fun. I found it interesting that Dokey chose to omit, from the very beginning of the story, the golden hair element of the story (or at least it seemed so), but went with it hoping that a clear reason for this would come later in the story...and sure enough it did, in spades.

The remaining elements of the story are fairly traditional...though Dokey does make the witch more of a sorceress and give her a "good guy" part in this particular version. Here there is no "ultimate bad guy" (a la wicked step-mother)...rather the "bad guys" are more subtle, much less `in your face' than us usual for a fairytale. Here Rapunzel (for what else could she be named?) comes by her circumstances in almost exactly the traditional way (mother craves rapunzel, a kind of parsley; husband gets parsley; husband gets caught and a bargain is struck)...but here is where one of the twists occurs. The sorceress doesn't demand the child, she strikes a bargain whereby if the mother cannot love the child "as is" when it is born, she will take the child away. The father is mortified and doesn't want to agree, but ultimately an agreement is reached...
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