The Kingdom Of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
Once upon a time fairy tales were not animated musicals at your local theater. Once upon a time fairy tales didn’t have happily ever afters. Once upon a time fairy tales spoke of life’s cruelties and misfortune.
The Kingdom of Little Wounds is this latter type of fairy tale. It is set in an imaginary Scandinavian kingdom during the 16th century. The kingdom is in turmoil because the royal family is suffering from a mysterious disease. No one knows why the royal family is dying off one by one. So rumors are created and spread overnight.
In this midst of this misfortune and palace intrigue two young women try to find better lives for themselves. Ava is a seamstress for the Queen, but after one mistake she is sent to the nursery, then again becomes a maid. Her life is seemingly spiraling out of control and she has no power to stop it. The second lady, Midi, was stolen from her native Africa, and forced into servitude for a Countess. She is also mute because her tongue was sliced in two. Eventually the Countess gave Midi to the Queen to curry favor. Now she works in the nursery caring for the diseased royal children.
And since this a dark and truthful fairy tale these girls have no power over their lives. The live and work by the whims of the people in the court. They are degraded by a manipulative man seeking power. He uses them as pawns to advance his own needs. Soon misfortune piles atop misfortune for our young heroines. How can they escape the betrayals and backstabbing at court? Can there be a happy ending for them? And in a realistic world how happy an ending can they have?
The Kingdom of Little Wounds is a powerful tale that mesmerizes the reader. It is not a pleasant tale and horrible things happen all the time, but I could not put this book down. I needed to know if and how these young girls survived. If you like historical fiction, or a realistic dissection of the structure of fairy tales then pick this book up. If you like to live in a bubble of happiness then this book is not for you.
The Kingdom of Little Wounds is appropriate for ages 16 and up due to graphic violence, rape, and all sorts of mayhem. If you can handle that then I highly recommend this book. It is incredibly powerful and an amazing insight to the past.