The Literary Horizon: Briar Rose

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

A powerful retelling of Sleeping Beauty that is “heartbreaking and heartwarming.”

An American Library Association “100 Best Books for Teens”
An American Library Association “Best Books for Young Adults”

Ever since she was a child, Rebecca has been enchanted by her grandmother Gemma’s stories about Briar Rose. But a promise Rebecca makes to her dying grandmother will lead her on a remarkable journey to uncover the truth of Gemma’s astonishing claim: I am Briar Rose. A journey that will lead her to unspeakable brutality and horror. But also to redemption and hope.

via Amazon

This has been on my list for a while, but it was only recently that I became more specific in my desire to read it. During my children’s and young adult literature class, we read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, but Briar Rose had either been a selection in the past or considered as a book to discuss children’s Holocaust literature. I’m curious about Yolen’s fiction and I’m curious about how she connects “Sleeping Beauty” with the Holocaust, so I’m in.

Fyrefly at Fyrefly’s Book Blog liked it, but found the characterization a bit flat. Andi at Estella’s Revenge found it uneven—a little too dated and a little too emotionally dull. Cecelia at The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia considers it one of her favorite books. Jeanne at Necromancy Never Pays also loves it.

Briar Rose was published in 1992.

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