Snow White and Rose Red live on the edge of the forest that conceals the elusive border of Faerie. They know enough about Faerie lands and mortal magic to be concerned when they find two human sorcerers setting spells near the border. And when the kindly, intelligent black bear wanders into their cottage some months later, they realize the connection between his plight and the sorcery they saw in the forest.
Genre: fantasy, fairy tale
Mixing Elizabethan history with fantasy, this is a retelling of one of the lesser used fairy tales of Snow White and Rose Red. The two sisters live with their mother on the edge of a forest and their are quite comfortable with the land of Faerie that is very nearby. Not heeding their mother's concern about attracting suspicion as being witches, the girls find themselves crossing the path of two half faerie princes, one of whom has been turned into a bear thanks to the meddling of two actual wizards living in the town. Befriending John and his stricken brother Hugh, the girls devote themselves to trying to figure out how to undo the spell that has entrapped Hugh.
The book gets marked down for dragging at spots, but Blanche and Rosamund are sweet girls who have a good relationship with their mother. Hugh is the less developed of the two brothers, but that doesn't matter much since he ends up with Blanche, who is the less personable of sisters. It probably feels like it drags because there's a lot of plots going on. There's the attempt to undo Hugh's spell, the wizards trying to keep their crystal, various faeries plotting to get the crystal back, and the search for witches thrown in. It was a lot going on, so much so that sometimes things just jumped from one month to another with a lot of people making plans, but no one really doing anything of action. The characters are charming though and it makes a good effort of retelling a fairy tale that might have been harder to deal with than some.