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"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Midnight Dancers by Regina Doman

Once upon a time, a Catholic mom finally got around to reading a book by Regina Doman.

For no good reason, she started in the back and discovered the author was inspired by Dietrich von Hildebrand.…

Who could resist? This is a philosopher wise enough to note: “that if beauty and goodness are separated, then a curious disembodiment of the culture takes place. Goodness becomes abstract and merely moral, perhaps even boring; and beauty appears to be mere sensual glamour, a distraction, and perhaps even evil. For of course, goodness and beauty are in their essences the same thing.”

Pondering this, Regina creates a modern story from the old-fairy tale: The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

There are actually 12 girls involved in this story (think “Brady Bunch”). These girls find a secret stairway that leads out of their bedroom. Their dissatisfaction with their distant and busy father, combined with their upbringing in their Christian Church that has a strict Puritanesque philosophy toward temporal beauty, tempts the older girls to explore a night-life outside their home. They meet boys from their church who ferry them on boats to an island where they also meet a rich boy (and friends) whose hearts are not as handsome as their faces.

I wasn’t surprised at all to find a solidly good story with realistic Christian characters. I was surprised by the story in ways that… well, surprised me:

~ a main male character who reflected the self-sacrificial love of Christ.

~ a positive reflection of Protestants and Catholics with a refreshingly genuine Catholic character.

~ the presentation of Eastern medicine/martial arts blending with Western in a way that does not assume an unnecessary dichotomy.

~ a presentation of truth about the feminine and masculine woven in a way that’s bound to make certain modern feminists yearn for what they do not yet understand that they have missed.

This book is for older tweens or teens. My slight caution is a warning so parents note that the book deals (respectfully and well) with serious themes about mortal sin, its consequences, and playing with danger. So while the girls mainly play around the edges of danger with a mention of smoking/drinking and a flat-out refusal of drugs (marijuana), it culminates in an intense scene where one character and his friends who have embraced the dark side, make an (ultimately unsuccessful) sexual attack on the oldest girl.

She is rescued by a prince-of-a-guy and we leave the story to conclude Hopefully Ever After…

SAFETY RATING: 3 Vatican Flags

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Midnight Dancers - A Fairy Tale Retold.

The Catholic Review Program offers Catholic bloggers a chance to receive books in exchange for their opinion of the book being posted in a blog review.


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