Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hans Christian Andersen at Frederiksborg Castle Gift Shop

As I mentioned in my last travel post about our day visiting the national art museum, Hans Christian Andersen at Frederiksborg Castle, the final destination by design is the gift shop in a museum. Well, we visited this one and I found a few treasures--badly photographed here--to share.

First discovery were the little glass Frog Kings pictured above. Which made me laugh since Frog Kings are so ubiquitous and have nothing to do with Hans Christian Andersen. But it's not surprising that the Frog King is the first tale to be found in the Grimms' collection. I liked this version of the frog since he also holds the gold ball that is rarely remembered from the story.

Moving on, I found some Hans Christian Andersen candy. I didn't buy any--my purchases for this entire trip were minimal and well, it wasn't chocolate. :) Besides, if the label didn't tell you, it would be hard to know this was HCA themed candy. The silhouettes aren't very distinct.

There were a few HCA fairy tale books--nothing new that I hadn't seen before and I forgot to photograph them as a result. But I found these papercut ornaments to be my favorite finds. I was tempted to buy them all until I did the math. They were expensive (about $19 USD each) so I settled on my favorite--the Princess and the Pea, of course. 

I was rather sad that there wasn't a good book to buy--the best ones were ones I already owned and I don't own that many HCA books. Well, relative to other people, I do, but he's not the focus of my folklore library. So I was hoping something would be new to me. But the papercut ornaments seemed fitting so I was happy to find one of those to commemorate the visit.

The Steadfast Tin Soldier

The Ugly Duckling

The Emperor's New Clothes

The Princess and the Pea

Sorry the photographs are dark. You can see the entire collection of HCA themed papercut art by at Oda Wiedbrecht's site with much better photographs, of course. Here is a scan of the one I bought:

Bonus round: As I mentioned, we traveled to the castle by train. I was surprised to find the following message above my head as we waited for the train that morning--whimsical and so very U.S. The world really has gotten smaller. But it was a fitting reminder of how I wanted to spend my day from an unlikely source so I was tickled by it.

And on a similar note, I saw many posters that day advertising a Danish performance of "Into the Woods" at the Tivoli which is essentially the performing arts center of Copenhagen as well as a famous amusement park. I got a bad picture of it--the goal was to get it before several people walked in front of me and to avoid glare. Not very successful. John and I are reflected in the lower right corner. 

But I found the poster again on the Tivoli site for the performance that happened on May 19th. Wonder how well the music--if it does--translates into Danish. Not sure if this was a musical version or not.

And this again shows the universal influence of the Grimms. I've really got to get to Germany next time!

Bargain Ebook: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted by Naomi Novik is on sale today only for $2.99 in ebook format, the first time it has been discounted to my knowledge. I owned it in paper format and am happy to get a digital copy, too.

Book description:

WINNER OF THE NEBULA AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL • Naomi Novik, author of the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed Temeraire novels, introduces a bold new world rooted in folk stories and legends, as elemental as a Grimm fairy tale.

HUGO AWARD FINALIST • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR | BuzzFeed | Tor.com | BookPage | Library Journal | Publishers Weekly

“Uprooted is confidently wrought and sympathetically cast. I might even call it bewitching.”—Gregory Maguire, bestselling author of Wicked and Egg & Spoon

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hans Christian Andersen at Frederiksborg Castle

On Monday, May 1, we took the train to Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød, Denmark, about 45 minutes away from Copenhagen. Formerly a royal residence, it is now the Museum of National History for Denmark. We looked at a lot of art and saw some impressive rooms like the Chapel and the Great Hall. A small room in the Chapel is also where one can find the original religious paintings of Carl Bloch, one of my favorite parts of our visit. The chapel was quite impressive.

and the Great Hall (that's me in black in the far distance, just left of center, studying a sculpture). This one has great scope for imagining a royal ball, Cinderella visions included.

I wasn't expecting to see any Hans Christian Andersen references--silly me--but somewhat near the end of our visit, we entered a few rooms that had portraits of famous Danes. Well, I looked up over the doorway in one room to spy a familiar face. Hmmm, over a doorway and hard to see, I thought. This picture was taken with my zoom.

Then I entered the next room and realized HCA, unlike most of the other famous figures, was represented twice. The sunlight made it hard to get a good photo, unfortunately, without glare.

That was more than I expected, but there was more to come. Quite literally the last room we visited before returning to the hallway that lead to the gift shop--finding the gift shop's always a good sign that your tour is done--I discovered this little dark alcove. Well, I know him, I thought! 

This time the room was too dark--and no flash allowed, of course--to get very good images. I could barely read some of the items in the dim light when standing in front of it. Some of my photos are too blurry to share, but I did get a few in focus. 

I don't remember ever seeing this portrait before. Obviously, he was going through one of the "I'll experiment with facial hair" stages of early manhood. He was 26 when the portrait was painted.

This was one of the photos I am most familiar with of HCA.

An HCA papercut! Always fun to see one of those!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Two Bargain Ebooks: The Wrath & the Dawn and The Rose & the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh TODAY ONLY

Both The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh and its sequel, The Rose & the Dagger, are on sale TODAY ONLY for $2.99 each in ebook format. This is the first time the sequel has been on sale to my knowledge. I haven't read these yet, but my sister recommends them. And if you like Arabian Nights and Scheherazade inspired stories, these are a must. These are usually more in the $10 range.

Book description for The Wrath & the Dawn:

#1 New York Times Bestseller

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Book description for The Rose & the Dagger:

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as "a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance."

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

Monday, May 15, 2017

To Travel Is to Live: Copenhagen and Hans Christian Andersen

Hello all! I have safely returned from a trip to the Baltic where I encountered many fairy tale sightings, some expected and some not. I am going to share pictures and stories over the next several days, going in chronological order for our trip. My husband John and my parents traveled with me on this grand adventure!

We arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark on April 29th. After two flights and too many hours sitting with very little sleep, we wearily navigated the airport to claim our luggage. We turned one corner and suddenly I was face to face with the Little Mermaid! I scrambled for my camera for obvious reasons and snapped these pictures. 

There was a replica of the Little Mermaid statue that sits in the harbor. We weren't planning to go to the harbor during our stay in Copenhagen so I was thrilled to see the mermaid in the airport. (And I would see other versions throughout our explorations of Copenhagen, too, most of which I didn't photograph.) Don't worry, I did plan on a few other fairy tale visits, just not to the harbor which was out of the way of our other destinations and cold. We spend the entire trip in coats, gloves and hats. It was a chilly, even snowy, spring in the Baltic!

There was also a large display case featuring the traveling trunk Hans Christian Andersen used in his own travels. It was large--nearly five feet tall--and suddenly made me feel better about my single suitcase and backpack for a two week trip. But I also felt sorry for whoever had to lug that thing around when it was full--no wheels and not very convenient handles either.

Here is the placard about HCA that accompanied the statue and trunk. You can click on it to make it larger and hopefully read it if you are interested.

More HCA sightings to come as we explored Copenhagen!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bargain Ebook: A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale by by Liz Braswell for $1.99

A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale by by Liz Braswell is on sale today only for $1.99 down from a usual range of $10. This is a novel retelling Aladdin--the Disney version--from with dark twists, part of a series by Braswell for the Disney imprint that retells many Disney fairy tales. Oh, the layers of folklore manipulation!

Book description:

What if Aladdin had never found the lamp? This first book in the A Twisted Tale line will explore a dark and daring version of Disney's Aladdin. When Jafar steals the Genie's lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war. What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bargain Ebook: The Wish Granter (Ravenspire Book 2) by C. J. Redwine

The Wish Granter (Ravenspire Book 2) by C. J. Redwine is bargain priced for $1.99 for the first time in ebook format. That is down from the usual price of $9.99 so grab it while you can. This is the second book in a planned lengthy series featuring fairy tale retellings, following The Shadow Queen which retold Snow White. This one takes a less commonly retold tale, Rumpelstiltskin which thrills me no end.

Book description:

An epic, romantic, and action-packed fantasy inspired by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, about a bastard princess who must take on an evil fae to save her brother’s soul, from C. J. Redwine, the New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen. Perfect for fans of Graceling and the Lunar Chronicles.

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.

Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.

So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.

But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul.