Briar Rose A Novel of the Fairy Tale Series

Fairy Tales

Jane Yolen

Tor Teen



Mass Market Paperbound

224 Pages



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An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
A 1992 Nebula Nominee

This celebrated fantasy novel offers a new and insightful version of the German folktale of the Briar Rose, also known as the Sleeping Beauty story. In Yolen's graceful, historically sensitive retelling, the fable is set amid forests patrolled by the German army during World War II. Confronting the deeply tragic events of the Holocaust, Yolen employs lyrical prose and rich characterizations to communicate a tale of good and evil, light and darkness, hope and despair. As The Washington Post observed: "[This is] a terrifically moving story of the Holocaust, one that finds hope and bravery behind the barbed wire and reminds us of love's power to heal even the most terrible and enduring wounds . . . Briar Rose takes on the timeless quality of a true myth, with its depiction of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the face of nearly incomprehensible evil."


Praise for Briar Rose

"[A work of] surpassing feeling and resonance . . . Yolen has given the fairy tale a life far more real, more poignant, than anything the Disney wizards could possibly achieve."—Analog

"A compact knockout of a novel . . . Recommended."—Feminist Bookstore News

"Utterly superb."—Interzone

"Yolen is a national treasure. Briar Rose is an exquisite and heartrending story that fulfills the promise of the finest fairy tales: truth, pain, and entertainment."—Greg Bear

"Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, Yolen's novel is a compelling reminder of the Holocaust as well as a contemporary tale of secrets and romance."—Booklist

"One of [the Fairy Tale series'] most ambitious efforts, and only a writer as good as Yolen could bring it off. Yolen takes the story of Briar Rose (commonly known as Sleeping Beauty) and links it to the Holocaust—a far-from-obvious connection that she makes perfectly convincing . . . She handles a difficult subject with finesse in a book that should be required reading for anyone who is tempted to dismiss fantasy as a frivolous genre."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

"Gemma, tell your story again," Shana begged, putting her arms around her grandmother and breathing in that special smell of talcum and lemon that seemed to belong only to her.
"Which one?" Gemma asked, chopping the apples in the wooden bowl.
"You know," Shana said.
"Yes--you know," Sylvia added. Like her sister, she crowded close and let the talcum-lemon smell almost over-whelm her.
Baby Rebecca in the high chair banged her spoon against the cup. "Seepin Boot. Seepin Boot."
Shana made a face. Even when she had been little herself she'd never spoken
Read the full excerpt


  • Jane Yolen

  • Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen attended Smith College and then received a Master's in Education from the University of Massachusetts. The distinguished author of more than 170 books, Yolen also composes songs and is a professional storyteller on the stage. She lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts, and St. Andrews, Scotland.