‘Briar Rose’ puts new twist on ‘Sleeping Beauty’


Mariko Galton, Reporter

“Briar Rose” by Jane Yolen is about a woman fulfilling a promise to herself  about discovering the truth behind her grandmother’s claim of being “Briar Rose.”

From childhood, Rebecca remembers her grandmother’s stories of Briar Rose,  originally a childhood story about a fairy cursing the princess Briar Rose because she had not been invited to the baby’s christening. Modern readers may see the resemblance to the story of “Sleeping Beauty.”

The enchantment of her grandmother’s stories made Rebecca want to visit the places that her grandmother had mentioned. After her grandmother’s death, Rebecca journeys to a place filled with horror and fear but also revelation and hope. As she journeys to learn more about the past, Rebecca encounters the horrors of the Holocaust and the tragedy of WWII in Europe.

“Briar Rose” is a compelling story because of its retelling of “Sleeping Beauty” against the backdrop of the second world war. Its heartbreaking story will remind readers of the history and tragedy of the Holocaust from a different perspective.

This novel is recommended for older teens because of graphic descriptions of the Holocaust. “Briar Rose” reveals to readers the horrors of the Holocaust but teaches the importance of courage and hope.