Anyone who likes musicals is usually aware of the incomparable talent of STephen SOndheim - West Side STory, SUnday in the park with George to name but a few. Into the woods is in many ways his masterpiece - a wonderful blend of original narrative, extraordinary songs and a cast of musical talent so sublime that it is impossible to find a weakness in this glorious ensemble.
The first act revovlves around a series of popular fairy stories (Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Jack and the BEanstalk) that all become interlinked when a baker and his wife journey into the woods motivated by the promise of a child by the Wicked Witch.
I had real high hopes for this book based on 2 reasons:
1: It was recommended by R&J who haven't let me down before
2: I read Da Vinci prior to the hype and thought it was a rollicking good read (not Charles Dickens but better than most)
I was therefore quite disappointed with a book that did not, at any point encourage me to want to read more. The main character was just not that interesting - I really didn't care if he ever found his wife or not.
In short I think if you are picking this book up on the basis of its comparison to Da Vinci - put it straight back down or lower your expectations A LOT!!
As a huge fan of historical fiction I was elated to discover this book in my local library and having exhausted Phillipa Gregory's array of novels I was drawn by the comparison.
The plot takes us to late 15th Century Italy and revolves around the political and romantic rivalry between sisters during a tempestuous time in Italian histoy.
Being completely unaware of the monarchial struggles that presided during this time in Milan it was refreshing to read an historical novel that wasn't set in tudor britain and the story was full of enough twists and turns to maintain interest.
However it is the involvement of one Leonardo Da Vinci that unites the story and… Read more