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The Door in the Hedge

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  9,168 ratings  ·  539 reviews
Master storyteller Robin McKinley here spins two new fairy tales and retells two cherished classics. All feature princesses touched with or by magic. There is Linadel, who lives in a kingdom next to Faerieland, where princesses are stolen away on their seventeenth birthdays-and Linadel's seventeenth birthday is tomorrow. And Korah, whose brother is bewitched by the magical ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 13th 2003 by Firebird (first published 1981)
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Olivia I'd say 10 and up. There really isn't any violence or bad language in this book.…moreI'd say 10 and up. There really isn't any violence or bad language in this book.(less)

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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  9,168 ratings  ·  539 reviews

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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
Dec 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
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
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
Clara Thompson
Jul 28, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Alyssa Nelson
Robin McKinley’s strong suit is not short stories. Her books usually start off slow and take a while to warm up and become interesting, and with short stories, that sort of thing just doesn’t work out as well. While the stories themselves had interesting plots, the way McKinley writes most of them is plodding, to say the least. The first story kept losing my interest, but I know how her writing works, so I continued on, regardless of how bored I was from her initial set-up. With that said, howev ...more
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
May 23, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Apr 21, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Lisa Wolf
Jan 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Oh how I adore McKinley's writing although I do have to admit that I prefer her longer stories to these shorter ones even though these stories were very good as well.

The Stolen Princess was about changelings ... er, almost as the fae kind of stole a kid from a family (boys in their infancy, girls in their late teens), but didn't quite give a child in return. One of the kids who gets taken in the middle of the night is a princess as the story's name indicates. Both the premise and execution were
Apr 30, 2020 marked it as deals  ·  review of another edition
30 April 2020: $1.99 on Kindle ...more
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. ...more
Lindsay Merrill
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Basic Premise: 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 was a feeling I get only from ce
Nov 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it did not like it
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 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 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was a nice set of fairy tales, told in a classic style. I enjoyed it!
Shoshana G
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of some of McKinley’s shorter works. Two are tellings of well-known fairy tales, “The Princess and the Frog” and “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”, and the other two were stories I was not familiar with beforehand, but was equally enchanted with after reading. McKinley has a gift with language, and it’s a pleasure to read her prose. Her deft hands means that the familiar stories are read in new ways, and the new stories feel just as timeless. “The Stolen Princess” was a look a ...more
Lisa Brown
A collection of four short stories - two retellings and two original fairytales - beautifully written and magical, as only Robin McKinley can do it. I enjoyed the stories, but some of them were better than others, and there were a couple that I wished were full length.
The Door in the Hedge is a collection of fairytale short stories very much in line with the classics. The tone of the collection reads more like early middle grade stories than young adult. Think more like a bedtime story. I think I would have enjoyed this collection as a young kid, but I did not realize going into this now that the stories would skew so young and lack the teeth I expect in retold fairytales for young adults.

I found that the storytelling also lacked quality. The characters were
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairytales, fantasy
It's been ages since I've read pure fairytales (I loved the Andrew Lang's colored fairy books as a child) and while they definitely have some antiquated notions of romance and gender roles, McKinley still manages to describe magical worlds beautifully. ...more
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This sadly didn't hold up for me as well as it did 10+ years ago when I first read it... now I'm a little afraid to re-read some of her books I love more for fear of being disappointed! ...more
Nobody does fairytales like McKinley.

(Also it's so fun seeing the origins of 2013's Shadows here in a book published in 1981.)
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I did not know that this was several separate retellings of fairy tales.
Apr 23, 2017 rated it liked it
If you enjoy reading fairy tale type books you will probably enjoy this. It was actually a series of 3 unrelated stories. I warmed up to them as I went along.
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
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
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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

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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 with thorns it may be.” 35 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.” 3 likes
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