The Witch of Anámesa by Kim Idynne
Young Adult Fairy Tale Re-telling
Ella Espinosa lives a secluded existence. Isolated from others, and assigned to all the hard work on her deceased father’s farm, she gets by with her own spirit of kindness and some help from the farm animals. Her stepmother warns her to stay away from the local villages, as the mountain folk are plagued by a gruesome disease, while the coastal communities are ravaged by violence and corruption. When Ella meets Prince, a young hunter from the mountain village, her beliefs are shaken—but as Ella dares to kindle new connections, she makes shocking discoveries about the mountain folk, whose customs are wholly unlike her own. Meanwhile, Ella’s gifts are abhorred by the villagers. Some believe that her unfamiliar songs and herbs are devotions to evil spirits, and that her abilities are the result of witchcraft. As her relationship with Prince deepens, the two begin to imagine having a life together. But as Ella continues to follow her own ways of living, the fears of the villagers rise to new extremes—and so do the actions against her.
4 out of 5
The Witch of Anámesa is a captivating retelling of Cinderella. I love a well-written fairy tale retelling. This is definitely one! A brilliant twist on the loved classic, you will find yourself lost within the pages for hours. Although marked as young adult, as long as you love fairy tales, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this book. Highly recommend for those still young at heart!
Author note from Goodreads: My most recent book is The Witch of Anámesa. The story started to develop during conversations I had with my tenth-grade students, some of whom were struggling with issues surrounding cultural diversity and religion. Many of those students had relatives and religious leaders who professed that other faiths were ‘evil,’ and those students were trying to uphold their own traditions while also accepting peers who practiced other religions. We also talked about storytelling and the books they were reading. Some of the other themes in The Witch of Anámesa spring from those conversations, and from comments the students made about seeing the same scenarios in YA books ‘over and over again’ and wanting something different.
About the Author: Kim Idynne is a Minneapolis-based writer and illustrator. She is the author of A Grand Exposition and Enigma, and has also published a variety of short fiction. Her first short story, “Meat,” was published in the February 2015 issue of Literary Mama; the following year, Idynne received a Silver Pen award for her story “Fungus.” Her artwork has been featured in journals, books, datebooks, and at galleries around the Twin Cities area. A longtime member of Minneapolis Writers’ Workshop and a Language Arts educator, Idynne is known for crafting gritty stories that deeply explore the human condition.