The Night Dance: A Retelling of

The Night Dance: A Retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" (Once upon a Time Series)

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by Suzanne Weyn

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Under the stars, in a secret world...

Rowena, the youngest of twelve sisters, loves to slip out of the castle at night and dance in a magical forest. Soon she convinces her sisters to join her. When Sir Ethan notices that his daughters' slippers look tattered every morning, he is certain they've been sneaking out. So he posts a challenge to all the

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Under the stars, in a secret world...

Rowena, the youngest of twelve sisters, loves to slip out of the castle at night and dance in a magical forest. Soon she convinces her sisters to join her. When Sir Ethan notices that his daughters' slippers look tattered every morning, he is certain they've been sneaking out. So he posts a challenge to all the suitors in the kingdom: The first man to discover where his daughters have been is free to marry the one he chooses.
Meanwhile a handsome young knight named Bedivere is involved in a challenge of his own: to return the powerful sword, Excalibur, to a mysterious lake. While looking for the lake, Bedivere meets the beautiful Rowena and falls for her. Bedivere knows that accepting Sir Ethan's challenge is the only opportunity for him to be with Rowena forever. But this puts both Bedivere and Rowena in a dangerous in which they risk their lives for a chance at love.

Product Details

Simon Pulse
Publication date:
Once upon a Time Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


Rowena pressed her slim body into the cool shadowy corner of the high wall in the empty courtyard. Shaded by the towering building behind her, her wavy copper-colored hair seemed to take on a more auburn hue. A determined glint deepened her lively, celery-colored eyes into a stormy blue-green.

Furtively glancing back at the towering manor that was her home, she saw one of her eleven sisters, Eleanore, peer out from a high, narrow window. Even from this distance she could read the look of longing in her sister's expression. Prickly though Eleanore could be, Rowena still sympathized with the trapped restlessness she knew her sister felt. Still, she couldn't take the chance of being seen, and she shrank back farther into the shadows.

Rawkeeeee! Rowena's hand suddenly flew to her heart as she whirled toward an open kitchen window on the first floor of the manor. The panicked squawk of a captive pheasant had made her jump.

Helen, the cook, appeared in the window with a small axe held high over her head and the bird clasped firmly in her other hand. She ended the struggling creature's life swiftly with a strong, well-placed blow to its neck against a chopping board. Then she strode away from the table by the window with the beheaded pheasant in her arms, setting about the business of preparing the bird for roasting.

When Rowena turned her attention back to the upper window, Eleanore was no longer there. In the next minute, Helen reappeared at the kitchen window, but only for a second, to pull the shutters closed.

Rowena waited, barely breathing, for several minutes more. Soon she felt confident that things were finally as she had hoped they'd be at this hour. Her sisters would be busy with their weaving and embroidery. Their father, Sir Ethan of Colchester, was reviewing his monthly accounts, a process that usually took hours. Most likely he wouldn't lift his head from his books until Mary, the head housemaid, summoned him for dinner.

Reaching into the cobalt blue velvet cape she wore against the late spring's still-cool breezes, Rowena withdrew a small iron cleaver that she'd smuggled from the kitchen. Even in this shadowed spot, its blade gleamed. Her father's military past had left him with a love of rules, order, and efficiency. Among his many dictates to the servants was his insistence that they regularly sharpen all the household blades on a whetstone.

A scuffle at her feet caused her eyes to dart downward. She immediately jumped back, startled by a tiny gray field mouse that had scurried in through the narrow opening that rose from the base of the wall in an inverted v-shape. The creature paused for a moment to stare up at her, then zigzagged its way across the courtyard, probably headed for the kitchen.

When her heart had settled, Rowena turned again toward the wall. With eager fingers, she traced the lines of a crack that traveled from the top of the break in the wall halfway up to the top. Several fissures snaked out from the main fracture, further weakening this section of the enclosure.

The day before, when Mary had ordered two of the house boys to remove a brown, dead, potted tree—one of the many potted plants adorning the slate-tiled courtyard—from this corner of the courtyard, Rowena had first noticed the break in the wall. She instantly recognized the opportunity she'd been hoping for.

With the cleaver in her firm grip, she attempted several slow practice passes to be sure that when the moment was right, her aim would be accurate. Then, wrapping her fingers around the cleaver's iron handle, she waited, her back pressed against the wall.

In the next moment, the bell from the monastery outside the nearby town of Glastonbury chimed as it always did at this hour, calling the monks to prayer.

Now! Rowena thought wildly. She smashed the cleaver's blade down into the line of the crack, the deeply satisfying crash masked by the resonating bell.

The cleaver stuck fast into the wall. With two hands, she frantically yanked it out and struck again.

And now!

And now!

Again and again, she savagely wielded the blade into the cracks, straining every lean muscle of her lithe body. With each blow her joy mounted as the crumbling powdery stone tumbled to her feet.

The bell ceased its summoning toll.

Dropping to her knees, Rowena took a quick moment to recover from her violent effort and then pushed the debris away from the opening. She lay flat on her stomach and rolled onto her right shoulder. From this vantage point it was immediately apparent that even if she managed to get her head through the opening, her shoulders would never make it.

Rowena rolled back up into a crouch and then slowly stood, resolving not to give in to disappointment. The monastery bell would chime again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, just as it had rung at the same hour on every day of her life. There would be other chances to chip away at this wall, the cursed barrier that had closed her off from the wide, glorious world for the past twelve years, since the time when her mother had left them.

Copyright © 2005 by Suzanne Weyn

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4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This nook was poorly written, in dialouge and character development. The main characters don't have much personality other than how obsessed they are with each other. Entirely too much "passion" with kissing and other suggestive behaviors for me to stomach for the only innocent reading that I have left, fairytales. Yeah, thats right, i'm a teenager that doesn't like paranormal romances. Get used to it, because believe it or not, we still do exist. If you want something cleaner, more interesting, better character development, and way better dialouge, try Jessica Day Georges' 12 Dancing Princesses retelling. Actually, try anythimg by her. She is good, clean, and will never let you down like this book did. Get Entwined too, while you're at it, even though it's not Jessica, or Shannon Hale (get anything by her too) it still delivers an amazing, and incredibly sweet storyline. Don't get this book. It is one of the weakest in the series. Instead, get Snow, Water Song, and Crimson Thread. Water Song and Crimsom Thread mesh fairytales into history to create a sort of historical fiction. It's amazing because many of the events told in the book are actually historically accurate. Snow is more true to the mythical, fairytale sides, and still absloutely stunning in it's own right. If Snow seems a bit slow to you in the beginning, just hang on. IT GETS BETTER. If you'actually read this far, then congrats. Most people haven't because they can't stand to read why their "favorite book" isn't so popular. So thank you, and I hope you take my suggestions. You'll thank me later.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like this book very much and would recomend it. But there is one series way better. Its called princess of the midnight ball. It will not dissapoint.its also a retelling of the 12 dancing princesses.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was very disappointing and could not compare to Water Song, Snow, Midnight Pearls and The Crimson Thread. I found it very unromantic and that Rowena and Bedivere's relationship was only built on looks, as well as Eleanore and Lord Liddington was only built on lust. It was also lacking in adventure and I thought that the story was very poorly developed. I was so hoping for something magical and different, but I sadly I thought it was poorly written and pathetic compared to many fairy tale remakes. I don't recommend this book, but do read Wildwood Dancing if you want a remarkable retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought The Night Dance was one of the best out of The Once Upon a Time Series. It was very romantic, and magical and its got history about Arthur and his handsome knights. My favorite parts were when Rowena and her sisters were dancing underground. Or when Bedivere and Rowena were together. If only all the guys could muture be like Bedivere, or any other knight.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The idea for the story was interesting, but the actual writing was terrible. There was no subtly about what happened, there was no character development or explanation of motive. What was Morgan le Fay going to do with the sword? Why didn't she get explored more? Characters didn't really 'discover' information as much as simply know what was going on. And it was kind of a slap in the face to read that the author was so obsessed with historical acurracy when this book clearly couldn't decide on a time period. The idea of 'romance' was trite and twisted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it thought some of the names were hard to pronounce and the story line was hard to follow sometimes, but if you like twists on classics i definitly recomened it
Merfairy613 More than 1 year ago
I actually really enjoyed it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please respond to this reveiw.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good book that kept building suspense. It got confusing at some parts especially the beginning. I love how suzanne collins mixed the 12 dancing princesses with the myths of the knights of the round table.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Iread the sample and thought it was very good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is like "i love books!!!" Put it beast. If u like this book then check out the slection, the siren, twilight, cursed, need, and the kane chronicles!
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