Black as Night

A Fairy Tale Retold
Book cover: 'Black as Night: A Fairy Tale Retold'
Regina Doman
Bethlehem Books
Fairy-Tale Novels
Number of pages: 
432 pages
Grade / Age level: 

This long-awaited sequel to Shadow of the Bear returns us to the life-like yet fairy tale inspired world of Blanche, Rose, Bear and Fish. Rose and Blanche have both finished high school now and Blanche is spending the summer trying to earn some money for college. Bear, unsure about what he wants to do with his life and having trouble forgiving injuries from his past, is brooding his way around Europe. When Blanche is left alone (while Rose and their mother leave on vacation) her fears and sense of danger start to catch up with her until she disappears into a world that seems upside down to her. A mystery unfolds which she needs to solve before she can return home (with the help of a band of friars, a couple of dogs and the grace of God). Meanwhile, realizing that Blanche is missing, her family and friends return to try and find her. But someone's been planting illegal drugs in places where Blanche has been, Bear is being shadowed and ... there seems to be a lot of trouble going on in New York City.

This is a delightful, page-turning story in and of itself. But the depth of the story is quite remarkable too. You'll recognize a very well known fairy tale along with hints of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. There are many interesting themes about good and evil, discerning a vocation and the dignity of life for the gravely ill. The story could also be looked upon as somewhat allegorical because, although most people won't find themselves in such dramatic circumstances, the basic process the characters struggle through offers some insight into what we should do when we find outselves in times of crisis.

This story, perhaps more so than Shadow of the Bear, is quite relevant to teenage boys and girls alike. Highly recommended! Best for ages 14 and up.

Additional notes: 

This title was donated for review by Bethlehem Books

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