‘Had I but known, Tam-Lin, she said
What defeat this night I’d see
I’d’ve stolen both thine eyes
and changed thee fast into a tree.
‘Had I but known, Tam-lin, she said
before we left this night to roam,
I’d’ve et thy heart of flesh
and left thee with a heart of stone!’ -Tam Lin
Tam-Lin is a beautiful ballad that describes a teenage girl facing off against the Queen of the Faeries as she claims her inheritance of Cartenhaugh manor and her love for captive Tam-Lin. I still have a beautiful picture book version of this tale that I would bring out each year on Halloween, aka the night that the Fairy Court allegedly rides out into the human world.
Anyone who knows me even the slightest is aware that my favorite Disney movie and fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. Stockholm Syndrome be damned, I think it is a lovely tale of learning to accept others for who they are, being ok with who you are, and that beauty is only skin deep.
This all ties into A Court of Thorns and Roses because the book is essentially a reimaginig of Beauty and the Beast with overtones of Tam-Lin. In this case, the protagonist Feyre is held captive in the fairy world by a High Fae Lord named Tamlin after she unknowingly kills his friend while hunting. Feyre, like Belle, is an outcast in her village. Her family is impoverished, her mother had long ago passed away, and she is responsible for supporting her family. Tamlin appears as a beast, but later transforms into a man, but with a mask that he cannot take off. In fact, everyone in his court is stuck wearing masks, because of a blight that was cast long ago.
I bet you can imagine where this is going. Feyre hates Tamlin at first for taking her away from her family and everything she has known, but as they become acquainted, save each others lives on several occasions, and Tamlin offers her an art gallery (unlike Belle, she’s an artist not a reader), their relationship gets steamy. As a side note, I could not believe this book is considered “teen” fiction but perhaps I am becoming more sensitive in my (26 years) old age. Anyways, this book is full of romance, adventure, fairies, an evil Queen, and pretty much everything fans of the fantasy genre will love. While there are a lot of familiar elements in this book, it manages to be unique enough to create an engaging tale. It’s passionate, it’s fast-paced, it’s the perfect summer escapist book. If you haven’t read the ballad of Tam-Lin, I recommend doing so before starting this novel.
If I haven’t convinced you enough how enjoyable this book is, I just found out it’s a series and as much as I hate getting roped into them, I have to find out what happens next!