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The Door in the Hedge

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  7,894 Ratings  ·  424 Reviews
'McKinley, who made a young novel out of 'Beauty and the Beast, ' now offers a quartet of fairy tales--two of them original and two retellings... Girls reluctantly outgrowing the romantic fairy tales now packaged for a younger audience will find these crystal-clear and melodic renditions.' - Kirkus Reviews
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published April 1st 1981 by Greenwillow Books (first published 1981)
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One of the problems with books today is that the literary establishment looks down on genre fiction. If your fiction is fantasy or science fiction or mystery or romance or something else readily classifiable, the thinking goes, it is not literary and therefore inferior. And, of course, modern authors are expected to include any amount of “intimacy” in their novels. So someone like Robin McKinley, who writes fantasy and typically doesn’t get graphic, gets classified as a young adult genre author, ...more
Mary Catelli
A collection of four stories, all in an exquisite enchanting prose style. She has the voice down pat, it can draw you in on its own.

Two are retellings, one of "The Frog Princess" and the other of "The Twelve Dancing Princess," in which elements are added that shift the significance of events in the tale. I think the second is my favorite of this.

There's also an original tale about the fairies -- the Fair Folk -- and the last mortal land, where the fairies take infant boys and maidens nearly old
To start off, I absolutely love Robin McKinley's books. So, when I saw this, I thought that I would love it. Well, needless to say, I didn't end up loving it. Or liking it for that matter. The book, consisting of four short stories - two original, two redone classics - was awful. More than half of the description of the characters was purple prose. The characters also turned out to be a bunch of Mary Sue's and Gary Stu's. The description of everything else in the story (places and buildings, etc ...more
Robin McKinley writes a mean fairy tale, whether she's reworking an old classic ("The Twelve Dancing Princesses," "The Princess and the Frog", "The Golden Hind") or writing her own ("The Stolen Princess"). I love how atmospheric these stories are: you step into each story slowly until you're fully submerged, almost ensorcelled yourself.

The characters and their histories are fleshed out well beyond the scope of the original fairy tales. The soldier in "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" becomes an o
Aug 20, 2008 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley is a small collection of short stories. There are 4 stories total, 2 new stories and 2 stories retold. My favorite was the first, The Stolen Princess; one of the new stories. She completely draws you in and before you know it, you have finished the book. I couldn't put it down. I figured that I would read a story here and there, but that didn't happen. It's the same with all her books. I finish them before I want to. I am in the process of buying up all her ...more
Clara Thompson
The Door in the Hedge was a bit different than anything else I've read by Robin McKinley. One thing I love about her writing is that she manages to retain that classic fairy-tale style of writing, but still throw in her original style as well. The first story in the collection was perhaps my favorite, though her retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses was very good, too.

Overall, it was an excellent, light read that felt like you were soaking up an old classic without having to think too much
This book includes four short stories:
_The Stolen princess;(2,5 stars)
_The Princess and the Frog (2 stars, the story was just too short!)
_The Hunting of the Hind (3 stars..)
_The Twelve Dancing Princesses (3,5 stars)

Okay i'll admit that a three star rating for Robin Mckinley writing is absurd. She's one of the great ones able to transport me to magical worlds, with her beautiful smooth writing.

I guess these short stories are told in the classical/traditional fairy tale way, and after having read
Deborah Pickstone
Four fairy tales, two retold and two new, in beautiful prose by a master spinner of the fairytale. Overall, it doesn't quite reach the grade set by the author herself.
Mar 28, 2013 Karlie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairy-tales, 1-star
I don't know what to say about this book. It was boring. I really struggled with it. I really like books full of short stories, I really do, but the stories in this one were WAY too short. Robin McKinley tends to wander off in la la land, and doesn't ever get to the point. I feel like she tried to cram too many events into too short a time frame. In the first story, I wasn't quite clear on what the actual problem was. I liked the characters, I thought the story had potential until princess Linad ...more
This is a collection of short stories that are retellings of classic faerie tales. At least, 3 of them are. I think one of them may be original, but it is stylistically so similar to a "classic" tale that the arguing is simply semantic.

McKinley has long been one of my favorite authors (you should see how battered my copy of The Hero and the Crown is), and this volume simply reinforced that knowledge. I found myself so caught up in the tales that I didn't want to do anything but sit and read. It
Apr 21, 2015 Vorbis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robin McKinley is one of my favourite authors, so I have to confess to being disappointed by this one of her earlier works. I've had the experience before with her short stories of them being nice but not doing anything much for me, but usually there would be one gem in there to make me take back anything I ever said.

These stories are all... fine. Just fine. The first one is a beautiful backstory of a kingdom where baby boys are stolen by the fairies, but girls left until they are seventeen in
Nov 13, 2007 Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ya---children
This book was good---a bit short to me, but good. Robin McKinley tells 4 stories in this book. The first(The Door in the Hedge) tells the story of Princes Linadel and her seventeenth birthday, the second being The Hunting of the Hind (i think?) where Korah's brother is bewitched by the hind and it is up to her to save him from the spell. The third one is a favorite: The Frog Princess. Princess Rana is courted- unhappily- by the Prince ALiyander, a sorcerer. She finds a frog in the pond who retri ...more
Jan 10, 2016 Ron rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ebook, gave-up
Gave up a dozen pages into the second story.

Unfortunately these novellas were nothing like McKinley’s Rose Daughter, which I really liked. Maybe she learned her craft on them. Maybe ... who knows?

Too much telling, too little empathy. Not so much bad as not engaging.

Don't waste your time.
Oct 07, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: Big Library Read
beautiful versions of at least 3 well-known stories along with a new one

“But the world turns, and even legends change; and somewhere there is a border, and sometime, perhaps, someone will decide to cross it, however well guarded its thorns may be.”
― Robin McKinley, The Door in the Hedge
Oct 17, 2015 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was a nice set of fairy tales, told in a classic style. I enjoyed it!
This fairytale collection contains four stories, two original (The Stolen Princess and The Hunting of the Hind) and two retellings (The Princess and the Frog and The Twelve Dancing Princesses). I liked them all to a certain degree, but my favorite happened to be McKinley’s version of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. When I was younger, I was never really crazy about that fairytale, but the way this story was crafted, which enabled the reader to see the story from the soldier’s point of view, helpe ...more
Fairytale Collection Magical

This is a collection of four short stories, I'll be updating my review as I finish each one.

The Stolen Princess Sheer Perfection!

Robin McKinley at her best, that's the only way to describe this one. Her writing is so lyrical, so full of whimsy. I felt like I was a child, sitting at the knee of a great storyteller.

My favorite thing about this one is Galvin, the stolen princess' father. His love for the queen is so tender, so caring, both through the years of yearning f
4.5 stars

When I picked up this book, I had no idea that it was actually made up of four short stories! I really liked this though.

The Lost Princess was the first story and I found that the author's lyrical language matched the mood of a fairy story wonderfully. The descriptions were enchanting. Perhaps sometimes they were too descriptive; I found myself tuning out, or reading without understanding, though this was only rare. I think that I actually liked the writing of this tale more than the a
Lindsay Merrill
This book contained four short stories. Two were retellings of classic fairy tales, and two were originals.

I have two general issues with this book.

First, I think the author's style of writing in this book is best described as self-indulgent. The lengthy and complex sentences were not improved by their length or complexity; this went beyond the descriptive pros style that works well in this type of storytelling. Typical lengthy paragraphs were made up of only two or three sentences. I frequent
Dec 05, 2008 Laina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably one of my new favorite Robin McKinley books ever. The only thing I can think to describe it as is beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous as a collection.

The first story (The Stolen Princess) was unique and classic with faeries and magic. Robin McKinley tells stories with such a wonderful quality that I couldn't but be entranced and in love with the essence of the story itself. The characters were simple, as was the setting and nothing distracted from the loveliness of the story.

The seco
Jul 06, 2010 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of four different stories. They include creative and vivid retellings of familiar fairy tales, as well as unique new stories with familiar faery motifs(trending slightly towards modern fantasy faery). According to the summary 2 of the stories are retellings and 2 are new, but they are so well-written and convincingly told that it would be difficult to differentiate the established stories from the new ones if I hadn't already been familiar with them.

The retellings are enric
Apr 05, 2011 Josephine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
This is a compilation of 4 short stories, some well known fairy tales, others not.
Robin McKinley is a most talented writer. Her words glide gracefully across the page and flow like a long and lovely poem. By the time you get to the end of the story you are almost in tears at the beauty of it all. You have this longing dazed look on your face. And then you shake yourself and scratch your head and say, "what? I don't get it." And you wonder if you missed something or if she is just like Lemony Sni
Lisa Wolf
Robin McKinley is the queen of modern fairy tale writers, and "Door in the Hedge" is an impressive addition to her works. DITH is McKinley's second published work, after "Beauty", and contains four fairy tales -- two originals ("The Stolen Princess" and "The Hunting of the Hind"), and two traditional tales retold ("The Princess and the Frog" and "The Twelve Dancing Princesses"). As always, McKinley's use of language is flawless. Many recent retellings of fairy tales seem to bend over backwards t ...more
Katherine Cowley
This collection of four fairy tales from Robin McKinley (a retelling of the princess and the frog and of the 12 dancing princesses, along with two new fairy tales) is absolutely delightful, weaving together magic, romance, and strong female characters. McKinley truly is a master of fantasy, and I was once again enraptured by her storytelling.

My favorite piece in the collection was The Princess and the Frog, which is more of a short story, while some of the other pieces are truly novella length.
The stories are good, but I think McKinley was channeling Hans Christian Andersen. These are the most melancholy fairy tales imaginable. Oh, the heroines find instant, deep, and perfect love with their princes, but the sadness of parents losing children is all through this. Everyone is serious, and earnest, and staunch, and truly, I expected horrible things to happen to them, even in the stories I knew.

Library copy.
Stephanie Ricker
just finished The Door in the Hedge, and it was delightful. This had all of the things I love about McKinley and none of the things that occasionally bother me about her. Several of the stories are retellings of existing fairy tales and one or two are original creations, but all of them have the same feeling of authenticity. I love fairy tales, and these are of the best. I particularly enjoyed the last story, a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses.
Jan 28, 2016 Sally rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I expect better from this author. Granted, this is relatively old, but it still felt facile and often skipped important plot points and scenes, on top of the dated attitudes. The Twelve Dancing Princesses story had the highest number of evocative lines but still a rather unfeminist denouement.
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Retellings of classic fairy-tales. Beautiful stuff - some interesting twists, but very pure and true to the tradition of these stories.
Not as memorable or powerful as The Blue Sword (but that's one of my favorite books EVER). A quick read, and wholly enjoyable.
Oct 29, 2015 Maura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, shortstories
A good retelling of fairy stories. Modern in the sense of some of the wording and occasional nods to the intelligence and autonomy of people other than the typical white male protagonist, but nothing anachronistic, no twist endings. Just thoroughly well written stories
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Born in her mother's hometown of Warren, Ohio, Robin McKinley grew up an only child with a father in the United States Navy. She moved around frequently as a child and read copiously; she credits this background with the inspiration for her stories.

Her passion for reading was one of the most constant things in her childhood, so she began to remember events, places, and time periods by what books
More about Robin McKinley...

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“But the world turns, and even legends change; and somewhere there is a border, and sometime, perhaps, someone will decide to cross it, however well guarded its thorns may be.” 32 likes
“It is all very well to say that all princesses are good and beautiful and charming; but this is usually a determined optimism on everybody's part rather than the truth. After all, if a girl is a princess, she is undeniably a princess, and the best must be made of it; and how much pleasanter it would be if she were good and beautiful. There's always hope that if enough people believe as though she is, a little of it will rub off.” 2 likes
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