- Title: Barefoot on the Wind
- Author: Zoë Marriott
- Publisher: Walker Books
- Release Date: September 1st 2016
- Pages: 313
- Companion Novel: Shadows on the Moon
A companion title to Zoë Marriott’s critically acclaimed Shadows on the Moon, BAREFOOT ON THE WIND is a darkly magical retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” set in fairytale Japan.
There is a monster in the forest…
Everyone in Hana’s remote village on the mountain knows that straying too far into the woods is a death sentence. When Hana’s father goes missing, she is the only one who dares try to save him. Taking up her hunting gear, she goes in search of the beast, determined to kill it – or be killed herself.
But the forest contains more secrets, more magic and more darkness than Hana could ever have imagined. And the beast is not at all what she expects…
Let’s face the fact, I love a good retelling. It transports me back to my childhood days. It reminds me of the crazy things I used to do as a kid. It takes me home to this little part of my soul which is forever stuck in Neverland. When I came across Barefoot on the Wind, I knew I just HAD to get my hands on it…. and guess what? I absolutely loved it!
“There is a monster in the forest…”
Set in fairy tale Japan, Hana lives with her parents in a remote village on the mountains. She is on the road of self-discovery, still torn by the death of her older brother, Kyo. Ever since he was taken away by the monster in the forest, her family was never the same again. Hana always tries to be the “son” of the family, doing her very best to impress her parents, especially her father who strongly believes Hana is the reason behind his only son’s death. One night, Hana’s father was captured by the monster too, and the villagers started despising her family, believing they bring bad luck. Not one person wanted to lend in a hand to help her father, not even the bravest of men.
Barefoot on the Wind is a Beauty and the Beast retelling from a feminist perspective – empowering and enthralling. To put it simply – in the traditional fairy tale, innocent Belle did not come to the Beast on her own free will. Yet, even after taking her father as a prisoner, the Beast was lucky enough to have been awarded with her love. In Barefoot on the Wind, dear Hana went into the forest on her own free will to save her father and falling in love is last on her list of priorities. This story is very empowering and you will definitely love Hana’s brave ways.
Be wary if you ask favours of the Moon. She does not grant our wishes. She answers our prayers.
I really enjoyed the Asian twist to it. The characters are Japanese and you will get a fairly good glimpse of their culture and lifestyle. The food they eat, the clothes they wear; the little things which make them who they are. As an Asian myself, I really appreciate Zoë’s research and effort in bringing these characters to life and closer to home.
The writing of the story is simple and very easy to follow. Believe it or not, this is the very same story I told my little 5-year-old cousin when she came over for a sleepover at my place. I told her about Hana, about Itsuki, and about the monster in the forest. She was instantly attached, just like how I was too. The flow is really good and you would find this book difficult to put down. I enjoyed how the chapters were not too long too. The scenes were straight to the point and fast paced, yet perfect in unraveling the mystery – who is the monster in the forest?
I feel very strongly for the characters. Each and every one of them introduced played a part in bringing everything together. It makes you feel whole. The development of the main characters were very in depth.
The romance was spot on too. It was gentle and kind. Attached and soulful. It is every bit of a mystery you would love in a good romance story. Every bit of sweetness you can find in the relationship between two people. And when they finally hold hands and it sends warmth in your heart, you know the writer did a magnificent job.
And he will kiss me again, I thought, almost dizzy at the wonder of it. He will kiss me a thousand times more, and in a thousand ways.
Above all, this is a story on relationships and self-discovery. A story of faith restoration, forgiveness and determination. You will find love and comfort in every step and every turn, every chapter of this gripping tale.
“Because you still have work to do. You never needed to tell me that. Your father may have seen you in his dreams, my little flower, but I have always seen you in my heart.”
You will feel drawn to the book, attached to the characters and immersed in their adventures. This is definitely a winner for me. This is one retelling you should not miss!
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I can’t thank Walker Books enough for sending me this amazing review copy in exchange for my honest review!