In September 1863, Jacob Grimm travels through rural western Germany with his devoted niece, Auguste, who longs to learn at last the truth about her family. They are accompanied by Kummel, their new and enigmatic manservant. As relations between the three reach a crisis point, vivid flashbacks tell of Jacob's traumas and heartbreaks. Old now, Jacob resists Auguste's attempts to make him take stock of his life, but memories that are repressed have a tendency to reappear in other places, and in other guises.
Throughout Jacob's travels, he is reminded of the folktales he and his brother Wilhelm collected in their Tales for the Young and Old. Most notable is the feverish fairytale of "Sleeping Beauty," which holds a shattered mirror to a life, a country, and a history. The version recounted here is an enchanting tale that goes beyond the marriage of the Prince and Princess, to reveal the surprising truth behind the evil.
In his compelling historical novel, Haydn Middleton re-creates the life story of literature's most famous brothers. It is a history that could almost be a fairytale itself, with its fabulous changes of fortune, tests of duty and honor, arrogant princes, lost loves, and twisted family relationships-all unfolding in a world of dark forests and even darker politics.