“Once upon a time there was a girl, and there was a wolf.” (Cartwright).
Red Riding Hood will take you on an enchanting journey in to a village haunted by a wolf. It is full of danger, passion, and betrayal. This retelling will feel like the true story of Little Red Riding Hood. It is both a lighthearted and Gothic faerie tale.
The Plot: Valerie and her sister, Lucie, have grown up knowing that, once a month, a sacrifice must be made to the wolf to keep the village safe. By Valerie’s 17th year she is used to the tradition and pays it no more attention, until her dear sister is found slaughtered by the wolf. Chaos ensues in the village as suspicions rise. Who is the wolf? Is it Valerie’s child hood friend, Peter, who returned to the village after 10 years? Is it grandmother? Whomever the wolf’s human form is, it can talk to Valerie, and it wants to take her with it.
I have read the negative reviews for this book and I have to say that I disagree with them. I loved this tale. Yes, it is predicable, and yes, if you have seen the movie you don’t need to read the book. But Red Riding Hood is an enchanting faerie tale, and faerie tales are meant to be whimsical and subjective. This retelling feels like it is the real tale of Little Red and the Wolf. It has a great story, well written characters, and magical and horrific details that add depth to the tale.
I loved the character of Valerie. Valerie is meant to be our Little Red and she is perfect. She is strong and caring, and knows that she is not your “typical girl”. She fights for what she believes in and stays true to her heart.
“Even at age seven, she knew that, somehow, she was different from the other villagers.” (Cartwright, p.3).
Henry is our beloved “good-hearted” character of the tale. He is soft spoken, kind, and caring. He is brave, but timid all at once. He is handsome and rich, and sought after by all the girls in the village.
“He was lanky and dashing, with cropped hair and a relaxed smile.” (Cartwright, p. 30).
Peter is the intriguing, dark, mystery man of the book. He has a gloomy past and has a strong connection to Valerie, even after years of being away from the village. He is brooding and handsome, and lends a sense of doubt to Valerie and the story.
“He looked wild and haunted, wearing all black, like a horse that could not be tamed.” (Cartwight, p. 39).
Yes, this one has a bit of a love triangle, and it is mildly predictable, but it is also full of twists. It is a magnificent, otherworldly retelling of a classic, beloved faerie tale. For those who have not seen the movie, I will always recommend this for a quick, whimsical read. For those who have, it is still a recommended read for those who enjoy faerie tales.
“And yet, she could feel something behind her, approaching.” (Cartwright, p. 328).