Re-Imagining Rapunzel


By now you’ve probably seen our Pozible crowdfunding campaign and have seen the photos and video of our prototype box. This box features the amazing book Bitter Greens by Australian author Kate Forsyth, along with examples of bookish goodies our boxes may supply.

Bookcase Pozible Campaign

We chose Forsyth’s book for a number of reasons. The first, her historical fiction melded with fairy tale retellings are just SO DAMN GOOD. The way she intertwines historical fact, early versions of the chosen fairy tale and her own fictitious plots makes for an entertaining, interesting read. As noted in my previous post, I don’t often read standalone novels but I can’t get enough of Kate Forsyth’s books!

The second reason is, she is a great Australian author to represent our product. Forsyth is well-known because she has written so many novels, including children’s series The Chain of Charms and The Puzzle Ring.

 Image By Hannah Oakshott

Image By Hannah Oakshott

Thirdly, it was a fun theme to practice on! Fairy tales are magical and allow for beautiful illustrations, pieces of jewellery and our imaginations to create the perfect prototype box.

And finally, Forsyth explores themes in Bitter Greens, that we at Bookcase are in favour of. She has done her research and gone back to the first known written stories of Rapunzel – the fairy tale of Bitter Greens. The early versions were written for an adult audience and involve a hell of lot more gore and gruesome details than recent Disney versions. These versions also give women active roles in their own lives, rather than waiting for Prince Charming to save them.

The novel is set within the 16th and 17th centuries. As we all know, these eras were oppressive AF for females, and yet, Forsyth manages to give her three female protagonists small victories and defiances throughout their lives. I find these small acts of defiance inspirational because it shows that women can form their own lives within oppressive societal values. A personal reminder we all need during this trying century.

Her three main characters are Charlotte-Rose De Caumont de la Force (who actually lived in the 17th Century and was cousin to Louis XIV, the Sun King), Selena Leonelli/La Strega Bella (the villain/witch in Rapunzel) and Margherita/Persinette (the evil witch’s unwitting victim).

Each one of these females managed to gather small freedoms and take an active role in their own lives, despite the oppressive nature of their societies.

Forsyth writes Charlotte-Rose as a one kick-ass female who defied societal expectations wherever she could. Throughout the book Charlotte-Rose is unapologetically herself, has three love affairs and is witty, bold and speaks the truth about persons and situations that unfold around her.

Selena, the evil sorceress, is given a backstory which leads to her eventual capture of Margherita. This backstory humanises her actions – to a degree – and shows how Selena forged her own path as a courtesan and a witch to live the life she wanted. She defies society by choosing to sell her body, and by owning her own property.

The third protagonist of this story is Margherita, the unwitting captive of the witch Selena. Margherita is a total boss throughout her captivity and actively tries to escapes time and time again. She fights against Selena calling her Persinette, and actively reminds herself she is Margherita and her parents love her. Margherita’s bold attempts to escape and her desire to remember herself are what set her free.  

Forsyth has written three compelling, savvy women who defy the societal expectations they live in at every small chance they get. These women are great role models and heroines because of this. These three interwoven stories fit perfectly together like three strands of a braid and I would highly recommend everyone to read this novel!

Her new book Beauty in Thorns was released July 2017. This is another historical fiction novel interwoven with the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! Check out her website here! 


Jordan Meek

Jordan is an avid bookworm who loves nothing more than to curl up with a good book and a cuppa. When this romantic setting eludes her, she can be found writing to-do lists, scheduling, binge-watching tv shows and/or fantasising about what book to read next. She is a freelance editor and proofreader.