Cover image for Dark and deepest red
Title:
Dark and deepest red
ISBN:
9781250162748
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
309 pages ; 22 cm.
Summary:
Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves. Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva's feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever's history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there's more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes. --
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Summary

Summary

With Anna-Marie McLemore's signature lush prose, Dark and Deepest Red pairs the forbidding magic of a fairy tale with a modern story of passion and betrayal.

Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.

Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva's feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever's history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there's more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.


Author Notes

Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and taught by their family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. They are the author of The Weight of Feathers , a finalist for the 2016 William C. Morris Debut Award; 2017 Stonewall Honor Book When the Moon Was Ours , which was longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People's Literature and was the winner of the James Tiptree Jr. Award; Wild Beauty, and Blanca & Roja.


Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up--The story begins in the present day describing Rosella Oliva's fifth-generation shoe-making family during their town's yearly "glimmer": a time of magical happenings one week every October. This time of year the shoes they craft overtake their wearers resulting in impulsive acts of love and desire. To understand why this occurs, readers will travel back to the summer of 1518, when an illness sweeps through Strasbourg, France, causing women to dance uncontrollably until death. Believing that witchcraft or demonic influence is responsible, the authorities blame an unassuming family of Romani descent and endeavor to cast out the evil in their midst. The stories and characters intertwine in short chapters of lush prose and two complex story lines. Rosella and her friend Emil must decide to what extent their respective family histories and the event of 500 years ago will affect their present lives. The author uses Hans Christian Andersen's morality tale "The Red Shoes" as the basis for an original exploration of hidden sexuality in times past to guide readers' understanding of LGBTQ issues today. It is a powerful exposé of how differences are misunderstood, judged, and villainized by fear. References to Romani culture/language and early hints at a character's sexual ambiguity are initially confusing but later clarified. The abrupt transitions back and forth in time become smoother as plotlines and personalities take shape in the author's sympathetic, heartfelt storytelling. VERDICT A bold contemporary journey into generational secrets and perceptions of evil and otherness. Not just for fans of fairy tale fantasies, socially conscious teens will find plenty to grapple with here.--Jane Miller, Nashville Public Library


Kirkus Review

McLemore (contributor: Color Outside the Lines, 2019, etc.) weaves another magic spell in this haunting retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Red Shoes." In their most ambitious novel yet, they interconnect the present-day trials of Mexican American Rosella and Romani American Emil with those of Lavinia, a young Romani woman in 16th-century Strasbourg, who is revealed to be Emil's ancestor. Emil and Rosella became friends as children when they realized their darker skin color and families' religious practices set them apart from the rest of their friends. Now teens, the two are drawn to each other during their town's "glimmer," an annual weeklong occurrence in which magical things happen. This year, the red shoes created by Rosella's family cause people to pursue their romantic passions. However, Rosella is cursed with uncontrollable dancing, very similar to the plague of dancing that swept through Strasbourg in 1518, when the townspeople blamed Lavinia and the white trans boy she loved for their affliction. McLemore's lush sentence-level writing is masterly, painting vivid pictures of Lavinia's world. The past timeline is especially compelling, and readers will eagerly return to it. The author spins a tale of first love, misfits forging their own places in the world, and the inherent prejudices of people who fear what they don't understand. This novel will leave an indelible mark on readers' hearts. (Magical realism. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Stitching together scraps of history with contemporary life and the Hans Christian Andersen tale The Red Shoes, McLemore fashions another gorgeous novel that reminds readers of the ways fairy-tale evils and, more importantly, love have their roots in the real world. Each year for a few days, a glimmer of magic settles over Briar Meadow, and this time it chooses the red shoes famously made by Rosella Oliva's family, making those who wear them bold in life and love. Indeed, Rosella's own pair leads her into the arms of Emil, her childhood friend. But the glimmer also touches Emil's dreams, evoking sights and sounds from five centuries prior when a dancing sickness swept through the area. As the echo of la fièvre de la danse reverberates through Briar Meadow, McLemore relays the tale of the original outbreak, loosely inspired by actual events in sixteenth-century Strasbourg. Here the saga of Lala and Alifair unfolds alongside a heartbreaking need to conceal in order to survive Lala, her Romani heritage; Alifair, his transgender identity; and mutually, their love. These narrative threads are intricately braided together as Emil reconnects with his past and Rosella finds strength in her own dance of defiance. A thoughtful author's note discusses both the fever and the fairy tale, but it's McLemore's well-choreographed story that will dance on in readers' minds.--Julia Smith Copyright 2019 Booklist