If you’ve never read anything by Gregory McGuire I only have this to say to you: do not go into his books expecting them to be enjoyable. Do not expect them to be easy and, above all things, do not expect to get them right away. His books need to be savored, thought over, and questioned. Mirror, Mirror is no exception.
I’m sure you can guess that this book is a retelling of Snow White, but that’s really about as far as it goes. Yes, there is a beautiful girl, an evil stepmother, a huntsman, dwarfs and a mirror, but there is SO MUCH MORE.
Here is the summary from Goodreads:
The world was called Montefiore, as far as she knew, and from her aerie on every side all the world descended.
The year is 1502, and seven-year-old Bianca de Nevada lives perched high above the rolling hills and valleys of Tuscany and Umbria at Montefiore, the farm of her beloved father, Don Vicente. There she spends her days cosseted by Primavera Vecchia, the earthy cook, and Fra Ludovico, a priest who tends to their souls between bites of ham and sips of wine.
But one day a noble entourage makes its way up the winding slopes to the farm — and the world comes to Montefiore. In the presence of Cesare Borgia and his sister, the lovely and vain Lucrezia — decadent children of a wicked pope — no one can claim innocence for very long. When Borgia sends Don Vicente on a years-long quest to reclaim a relic of the original Tree of Knowledge, he leaves Bianca under the care — so to speak — of Lucrezia. She plots a dire fate for the young girl in the woods below the farm, but in the dark forest there can be found salvation as well …
The eye is always caught by light, but shadows have more to say.
First off, the coolest thing about this book is that the Borgias actually existed. And this family was majorly f-ed up. Like major major. Which makes for GREAT story lines.
That, however, is about all that was cool about this book. It was honestly just weird to me. I got lost a lot, couldn’t figure out what was going on, there were some kind of disturbing scenes that were probably not that disturbing I just didn’t understand them. I think it was a really neat twist on the fairy tale, pulling from actual historical events and people to blend with the magical elements of the tale. It just wasn’t really my cup of tea.