Wildwood Dancing

By Juliet Marillier,

Book cover of Wildwood Dancing

Book description

The wildwood holds many mysteries. Jena and her sisters share the biggest of all, a fantastic secret that enables them to escape the confines of their everyday life in rural Transylvania. They have kept it hidden for nine long years.

When their father falls ill and must leave their forest…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Wildwood Dancing as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

If your favorite song is “Love Story” try Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier.

There is something about Julier Marillier’s writing that feels ethereal and innocent and mysterious and romantic all in the same moment. Wildwood Dancing is my favorite of hers. It’s a fairytale retelling of the dancing sisters that it’s based in Romania and includes some of the local culture and customs.

I love how the realistic, unique setting blends with the fairytale story, and it really sets it apart for me from other fairytale retellings.

Wildwood Dancing is a fairytale set in the mysterious forests of Transylvania. We explore the world of Faerie through the eyes of Jena, the second eldest of five sisters who live at the castle Piscul Draculi, a name that already evokes a mystical ambiance. The cover of the book is perfectly suited to the Faerie realm and the adventure Jena embarks on as she discovers this unknown world and herself. Although I also love a concrete magic system with spells and formulaic magic, the mystery of the magic in the Other Kingdom brings the story to life as we venture…

It’s no secret to my followers that I am a Marillier super-fan: I have every single one of her books. Marillier is an expert when it comes to taking fairytales and traditional folk stories and reimagining them into historical fantasy novels. Wildwood Dancing is a beautiful example of this: a retelling of ‘The Twelve Dancing Sisters’, set in Transylvania and written for a YA audience. The main character Jena has such strength and courage, and this book makes for a truly enchanting read. 

This is another childhood story that convinced me to look for the deeper magic beneath the surface, a magic tapped into through myths and legends. The world of Wildwood Dancing is filled with vampires (not the sparkly kind), Iele, and Draguta, the witch of the woods. Based on the fairytale of the twelve dancing princesses, the story is set in the mountains of Transylvania, but with the added twist of a place called the Other Kingdom, where the five sisters go every Full Moon. The descriptions are rich and vivid, and the incorporation of Romanian folklore makes it feel even…

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