Everard – Not-So-Fairy Tales – Chautona Havig
The awesome narrator (I’ll tell you why she’s so awesome, later) is telling us the Terrible War is finally over and the surviving soldiers are allowed go home.
Brave and courageous, Everard of Havilund is one of the first allowed to leave the battlefield. He knows he is ahead of the others, and they will likely be at least a half day behind him. He also knows the people in the villages will be unaware of their victory and he is excited to share the news with them. This is uncharacteristic for him because, despite his bravery, he finds it difficult to hold simple conversations and will go out of his way to avoid them.
He’s been travelling four days without seeing another person so when he comes upon a farm house with someone in the yard, he’s fairly bursting to share the news.
Roana has a brother in the war and is desperate to know what’s happening, She is as excited to hear the good news as he is to give it. So excited, in fact, that she flies into his arms, and in the emotion of the moment he does something he has never, ever done before. Something that leaves him totally stunned.
He kisses her.
Of course, she has flown back into the house to share the good news with her dad, completely unaware of Everard’s state of mind.
In the weeks following his arrival back home he comes to a decision. After wrestling with his guilt over what he considers his compromising of her good reputation – he feels honour bound to marry her.
Normally, in this situation, because of his status as a prince, he could simply ask for her hand and it would be given to him. His sense of fairness won’t allow him to do that. He has decided that he must ask for her hand and she must be freely willing to give it.
This is where it gets a little sticky. You would think a father would be thrilled to have a prince asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Not this father. For reasons we have yet to understand, he decides the prince must fulfil a challenge first, to earn the right to ask for the hand of his daughter. It wasn’t just any old challenge either, he had to slay a dragon, and he had to do it alone.
Everard negotiates to have one person accompany him so that when he is killed there will be a witness to take word home to his family. You can see he is not expecting this situation to go well for him and yet he is willing to try anyway.
This challenge does not go the way you might expect, her father keeps changing the rules.
I liked this story because, while it is the retelling of a fairy tale, it is a loose retelling. It’s more like a mash-up of several fairy tales. This makes it impossible to predict where it is going next. It seems like it should end in a wedding but there are times when it looks a little doubtful.
That brings me to the Narrator. She is hilarious, in my opinion anyway. She thinks it is her duty to stop and explain certain things, and she has definite opinions on the type of things the reader needs to know. She also wants to avoid misunderstandings, and is apt to stop suddenly, to clarify some detail she thinks may confuse someone. I like the way she thinks.
She also has opinions on some of the decisions Everard makes; but he’s not listening to her. He is bound and determined to stick to the course he has set out for himself.
Everard’s strong sense of responsibility for the wrong he thinks he has committed makes his task that much harder to complete. And, when it gets right down to it, things are not always what they seem either.
He is so likeable you can’t help but cheer him on.
This was a fun read. If you like fairy tales I’m sure you will like this one too.
There are more books to talk about…. soon.