Scarlet Moon, by Debbie Viguie

Cover ImageFinished 2-8-09, rating 3.5/5, ya fiction, pub. 2004

“Darling child, what you do does not dictate who you are.  Clothed in furs and jewels you would be the same person as you are when covered with ash and soot.”

“Do you really think that’s true?”

“I know it is.  I loved your grandfather, and we were very different people.  In loving him, though, and marrying him, I didn’t lose myself.  Rather, I gained something I had long been in want of.  Love makes you more than what you are, not less…”

This slim youg adult novel is the retelling of the classic Little Red Riding Hood story and I was enchanted.  Ruth was attacked by a wolf in the woods as a child and saved by her brother, Stephen, when he attacks and wounds the wolf.  Ruth heals, but carries the wounds from the wolf into adulthood.  Her brother and cousin, Peter, go off to fight in Jerusalem and Ruth is left to help her father as a blacksmith.  She makes frequent trips to her Grandmother in the woods and learns from her the power of healing and an enlightened way of looking at the world.

Nine years after the wolf attack Peter returns home from fighting without Stephen and Ruth is heartbroken.  Even Peter’s spirit seems to be broken. Then one day Earl William walks into her life and everything changes.  Ruth suddenly feels like a woman.  Except that William is harboring a mysterious and dangerous secret that could devastate her.

I have never been a huge fan of the Red Riding Hood tale, but I really liked this adaptation.  Ruth is a strong and brave young lady and a perfect heroine for young adults (hormones included!).  The parts of the story told from William’s perspective were chilling and compelling. 

This is one of several fairy tale books from Viguie and I plan on reading more.  It was a pleasant way to spend a few hours!