First off, thanks to my little (adopted) sister, Delaney, for lending me this book. She said it was one of her favorite books and, as she is a fellow Janeite, I trusted her to not steer me wrong with literature. It was a good thing I did because I ended up thoroughly enjoying this book.
The Shadow of the Bear by Regina Doman is a modern day retelling of the Grimm Brothers' version of the Snow White and Red Rose fairytale. What I appreciated the most was that it was unabashedly Catholic. I found no cliches or stereotypical characteristics associated with faithful Catholics. The female protagonists, Blanche and Rose Brier, are devout Catholics who stay true to the Church's teachings while recognizing their own faults (Blanche's jealousy towards her sister, Rose's carelessness). Unlike some Catholic fiction novels that only show the positive qualities in their characters, this novel showed the teenage girls in a very believable and likable manner. The antagonists were also great; I know so when I wish they were real life people I could kick in the shins. lol. I won't go into more detail because I really want others to read this novel. Some things were predictable (for me; I'm not easily surprised and am a seasoned veteran when it comes to mystery novels) throughout the story but I was completely enthralled during the denouement and I was excited to find out what would happen next. I will not say any big spoilers in case anyone wants to read the book for themselves but let's just say that the ending was completely satisfying and that Mrs. Doman wrapped up the novel very nicely.
Though this novel is aimed at teenagers (and, I am guessing, specifically teenage girls), I found it entertaining and thrilling. I honestly couldn't put it down and read the last 80-90 pages without getting up from my bed. I was tired and I wanted to sleep but I was really sucked into the story. At the end, the 2 a.m. bedtime was worth it. It also gave me confidence that I had made the right choices with my own characters in the novel I've been working on.
In a nutshell: If you appreciate good Catholic literature with positive messages, and don't mind the whole fairy tale aspect of it, then I highly recommend it. Again, it is aimed for teenagers but this 25 year-old sincerely enjoyed the book from start to finish and can't wait to start reading the sequel. :) I hope some of you end up reading this novel. :)
Alright, I need to get the book review for one of the Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati books ready so I'm going to spend the rest of my day reading and writing. I hope y'all have a great day. :)
As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!