The Daughters: A Novel by Adrienne Celt is released this week in the US. It will be released on September 15th in the UK, see The Daughters (UK Link). The book doesn't retell a fairy tale per se, but it draws from legends of the Rusalka, the water nymph from Scandinavian folklore. The novel particularly draws from the opera, Rusalka, by Antonín Dvořák.
Since the difficult birth of her daughter, which collided tragically with the death of her beloved grandmother, renowned opera sensation Lulu can’t bring herself to sing a note. Haunted by a curse that traces back through the women in her family, she fears that the loss of her remarkable talent and the birth of her daughter are somehow inexplicably connected. As Lulu tentatively embraces motherhood, she sifts through the stories she’s inherited about her elusive, jazz-singer mother and the nearly mythic matriarch, her great-grandmother Greta. Each tale is steeped in the family’s folkloric Polish tradition and haunted by the rusalka—a spirit that inspired Dvorak’s classic opera.
Merging elements from Bel Canto and Amy and Isabelle, The Daughters reveals through four generations the sensuous but precise physicality of both music and motherhood, and—most mysterious and seductive of all—the resonant ancestral lore that binds each mother to the one who came before.