Did I mention that I like fairy tales? Particularly feminist fairy tales?
Castle Waiting by Linda Medley This graphic novel (recently available in a one-volume hardcover) starts by retelling the story of Sleeping Beauty. The young princess veers from the classic story, though, by leaving the castle with her prince as soon as she wakes up. The castle, with all its staff, is left without a ruler, waiting for her promised return. Over time, it becomes a refuge for those cast out from the rest of society, if they believe the legends and can find it. One such is a Lady Jain, pregnant and alone, who comes to Castle Waiting to bear her child. The castle is populated by a variety of interesting characters, including three now ancient ladies-in-waiting, a crane named Rackham, John Henry, and a horse-headed man called Sir Chess. The rambling story shifts its focus in the second half from Jain to a Solicitine nun, who shares her story and the history of her most unusual order. It’s funny and serious at the same time, and full of sly references to the characters of folk and fairy tales. The introduction by author Jane Yolen, hinting at the difference between truth and Truth, was a delightful addition.