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The Night Dance: A Retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (Once Upon a Time #8)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  5,153 Ratings  ·  301 Reviews

Under the stars, in a secret world...

Rowena, the youngest of twelve sisters, loves to slip out of the castle at night and dance in a magical forest. Soon she convinces her sisters to join her. When Sir Ethan notices that his daughters' slippers look tattered every morning, he is certain they've been sneaking out. So he posts a challenge to all the suitors in the kingdom:

Paperback, 193 pages
Published November 22nd 2005 by Simon Pulse
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(showing 1-30)
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Oct 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: retellings, fantasy
This was a good book. It was all nice and sweet. Just like every other book in the series true love prevails above all. Rowena is a good protagonist and Sir Bedivere is all you want in your knight-in-shining-armor.

I like the the story of the 12 dancing princesses and the way Weyn portrays the story is done well. But I couldn't get over the fact that out of all the 12 sisters Rowena just has to be the most beautiful, as well as the most adventurous and the only daughter with the second sight. Al
Oct 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fairy-tales
In all honesty after I finished reading this I could think of was "huh?" . Don't misinterpret me this is not a bad huh just I kind of confused one.

This time around I did have some background of the original tale from reading Jessica Day George's Princess of the Midnight Ball. Highly recommended! But on to this retelling. Suzanne Weyn in her other retellings always relies on a historical setting to place the fariy tales in. In this one she incorporated the well known Arthurian legends. That was
♥Jessica, ♥Lady of the Library♥
Click here! It's book stuff.

At the beginning of this book...
Everyone else around me at school and such:
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Me: (Reading)
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Middle and end of this book...
Everyone else around me at school and such:
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Me: (Reading)
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Really, what I'm trying to say is that at the beginning it was very tiring, boring and not interesting. But towards the end, it got way better. That's why it doesn't deserve 5 stars. You don't get 5 stars when only 1/3 cf the book is good.
This book h
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fairy tale enthusiasts
The Night Dance is a wonderful combination of the fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and King Arthur legend. I was captivated at the first page, but at the same time wondering how the author could successfully tell this story and use the death of King Arthur and the sole remaining knight Bedivere's quest to return Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake. Well Ms. Weyn did an excellent job.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses has always been one of my favorite fairy tales. I was excited to read a fant
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 15, 2012 rated it liked it
This was an interesting retelling of the Grimm Brothers' The Twelve Dancing Princesses, which took the original fairy tale and combined it with Arthurian legend, making the boy who figures out the mystery behind the girls' worn out shoes one of Arthur's Knights of the Round Table. In this story, the girls are the daughter of a self-made Count, who met their mother near a lake in the forest. The woman turns out to be Vivienne, the Lady of the Lake, and Arthur's aunt. She's trapped in the lake by ...more
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It's a small book, but people who enjoy reading fairy tales re-told will find it a very pleasant light-read. It also intertwines with the legend of King Arthur and the Round Table. (having our main male protagonist being one of Arthur's knights)It doesn't follow King Arthur's specific story, but this book has some of the main characters in it, such as King Arthur (though he's in it for a very short time), Morgan Le Fay(and Morgan's son but I forget his name right now), the Lady of the Lake, and ...more
Mar 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fairy-tales
It's a pretty sweet idea-combining King Arthur and the 12 dancing princesses. In fact, it's a fabulous idea. And the way the story actually goes is also pretty great. But I had a very "My Fair Lady" reaction about the writing. You know that song where Eliza sings to Freddy, "Words! Words! Words! I'm so sick of words! I get words all day through; First from him, now from you! Is that all you blighters can do? Don't talk of stars Burning above; If you're in love, Show me!" That's how I felt about ...more
Marcia McClure
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the very first "Once Upon a Time" books I read...and it's still one of my favorite! A spin on "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," this version has an Arthurian Legend thread woven through it and I LOVE it! It has such a happy, happy ending as well! I have to say that Suzanne Weyn is probably my favorite contributor to the "Once Upon a Time" series!
Nov 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love to read fairy tale retellings and this one is amazing.

Ms. Weyn merged 12 Dancing Princesses with King Arthur lore and it turned out to be a wonderful story! The Lady of the Lake, Morgan le Fey, and Sir Bedivere Knight of the Round Table join Sir Ethan and his twelve daughters in this adventure that kept me captivated to the very last page.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an interesting retelling of the fairy tale. It was a bit light on details and character development, but a fun read.
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was so excited about this book. I'd read a couple of the books in the Once Upon a Time... series and had enjoyed them (The Storyteller's Daughter is just fantastic). The story of the 12 Dancing Princesses is one of my all-time favorites, and I'm also a bit of a sucker for Arthurian legend. I thought that combining the two would be fantastic. Alas, I was disappointed. The story just never gelled. It followed two characters who were separated and then came together, but the way they met didn't r ...more
This book was leaps and bounds better than The Diamond Secret. The writing style was up to par, in fact, it may have been the best book I've read yet by this author. Everything was fairly seamless in execution, the merging of the Arthurian Legend with the traditional fairy tale; I was impressed. My opinion should be a little bit biased, because this is I think my favorite fairy tale ever, but I don't find that it influenced my perception of the tale.

It was by no means my favorite retelling of t
3.5 stars

(Few minor spoilers)

The plot
The plot of the story kept to the basic tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses (though there wasn't really that much dancing!) The girls sneaked out from their bedroom into a secret passageway that led to an enchanted lake (where their mother, a Lady of the Lake awaited). Their overprotective father, aware of their tattered slippers, sets up a contest to eligible bachelors: if they solve the riddle of where his daughters disappear to then they will have the ch
Erika Schoeps
Jun 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I don't know what I expected. I certainly don't even expect anyone to read this review, because as an intelligent person who follows or reads my reviews, you can tell this book is pretty low quality. I remember liking it as a kid, and when I saw it at the library, I had to give it another try.

Nope. My taste as a child has failed me again. I wish I had just left this one alone.

This book is a re-telling of a fairy tale, which really bothers me because I hate re-tellings. No matter how many books g
Joanne♥~Bookworm Extraordinaire
This was a cute version of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairytale.

In this book each chapter is told in a different character's point of view. The main characters are Rowena, the youngest of the twelve sisters and Sir Bedivere, one of King Arthur's knights of the round table.

What I liked a lot about this book is that the story takes part of the original tale and adds elements of the King Arthur legends into it. Sir Bedivere is the last night of the round table, the lady of the lake and Morgan l
Mel (Daily Prophecy)
Also on

Again, a very sweet book in the “Once upon a time” series. This is a retelling of the twelve dancing princesses mixed with the tale of Arthur and the round table. This was an unique twist and it worked.

Rowena lives with her father and eleven sisters in a house surrounded by a high wall. Their mother disappeared when they were young girls. Their father is very protective. He doesn’t want to lose his daughters, so they aren’t allowed to go past t
Gypsy Madden
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a delightful tale, full of magic and familiarity with the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses as well as the mythology of the Arthurian tales and the various familiar faces from there like Morgan LeFey, Arthur, the Lady of the Lake, and Bedivere. The reader can easily identify with Rowena and her sisters as they yearn for their freedom, especially when the older sisters are past their teenage years, as well as understanding the motivations of their father who still grieves the loss of ...more
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: once-upon-a-time
A magnificent retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses"! I'm a sucker for anything that has to do with King Arthur and this kept me interested from beginning to end.

Rowena is the youngest of twelve sisters. Her father is the famous knight Sir Ethan and is very protective of his daughters. Years before, their mother left for a short quest, but never returned. Since then, Sir Ethan has constructed a high wall to border his castle and keeps the gate closed at all times.

But Rowena is the adventur
Amanda (Orandi et Legendi)
This retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses is set in Arthurian England. The twelve sisters’ mother is Vivienne, the Lady of the Lake. This is different than other retellings of the same story.

Rowena, the youngest of the twelve sisters, is the main character and the sister who inherited her mother’s second sight. Even though she does not know or understand her magical inheritance, it could be all that helps her find her missing mother.

Rowena’s first vision is about an unknown-to-her knight n
Apr 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, 2012, reviewed
3 – 3.5 Stars

Originally, this fairy tale of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” was a bit unfamiliar to me. I knew the basic storyline – twelve princesses under their father’s strict rules went dancing every night and came back with tattered slippers. The king then set up a contest – whoever could discover where the princesses went each night could choose which one to marry. However, after that, there were many deviations – some chose the oldest, the smartest, the prettiest, etc. In this case, they
Jun 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
In The Night Dance, Suzanne Weyn takes the classic fairy tale of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" and joins it with the legends of the Lady of the Lake from King Arthur Lore. It worked and worked well. I had to update myself on some of the King Arthur stories and found myself looking up several things on Wikipedia to review. I love if a book requires the reader to do a little bit of background to get the full grasp of the story. I do think that the authors should be delving a little bit more into ...more
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a delicious, not very long, post-Camlann arthurian novel which combines the legends with the story of the twelve dancing princesses in a very elegant, clever and simple way, like a wonderful puzzle. Elegant puzzle is what comes to my mind when I think of this book because the author masterfully puts together the various pieces creating a sensible story where many doubts are explained.
The main characters are twelve princesses, especially Rowena, who are actually the daughters of Vivienne
I still haven't gotten around to reading the actual "Twelve Dancing Princesses" fairy tale. One of my favorite books, Wildwood Dancing, is based on this tale. So after reading this and that, I've been able to figure out a bit more of the tale just by comparing common elements.

The nice surprise of this book is that the author mixed Arthurian legend in with this tale.

One part of the plot was sketchy. The father held a contest to have young men spend the night practically in the sisters' bedroom
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
If still unsure which retelling this Novel is, it is the retelling of the "Twelve Dancing Princesses" which is a fairytale classic that is often missed during childhood. I have read quite a large portion of the Once Upon a Time Fairytales and I was especially impressed with Weyn's writing in "The Night Dance" for her creativity and crossing the normal restrictions that fairytales often place on authors who try to bring something new to the table. The story follows the storyline of the original i ...more
Sunshine Rainbows
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable! The story of the 12 dancing princesses has always been a favorite but I've never read a version that had an explanation for how the princesses became enchanted in the first place until now. Blending the fairy tale and some of the characters from King Arthur, the author has written a clever interpretation of the events.

Since I've always enjoyed reading anything available about the era of King Arthur, having the two ideas merged together was a plus for me. The book includes The Lady of
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Theodosia of the Fathomless Hall
Agh. Why do I have to disagree with you, The Night Dance? (While I don't subscribe to referring to a reviewed book as animate, incidentally, I decided to include that...) Suzanne Weyn writes some of my favored Once Upon A Times but this irked me.
I adored the writing - In fact, this may seem antithetical, but it also was the reason I disliked it. For a fairy-tale it's supreme, but for a novel it's passé. If the Twelve Dancing Princesses were a titch more intelligent, it would have much improved
Cynthia Haggard
Jul 07, 2012 rated it liked it
THE NIGHT DANCE by Suzanne Weyn is perhaps the most interesting re-telling of the TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES fairy tale. Ms Weyn blends part of the Arthurian legend of the Lady of the Lake with the story in surprising and interesting ways. What a concept!

What a disappointment! The ending seemed rushed and the quality of the writing was far below the beginning of the novel, mainly because it sounded jarringly modern. I quote:

At the end of the wedding party, Sir Ethan announced that he would be lea
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Suzanne Weyn grew up in Williston Park, Long Island, New York. She has three sisters and a brother. As a girl she was very interested in theater and in reading. Louisa May Alcott was her favorite author, but she also read every Sherlock Holmes story. Suzanne lived pretty close to the ocean and going to Jones Beach was one of her favorite activities Even today, if she goes too long without seeing t ...more
More about Suzanne Weyn...

Other Books in the Series

Once Upon a Time (1 - 10 of 19 books)
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  • Beauty Sleep: A Retelling of Sleeping Beauty (Once Upon A Time, #2)
  • Snow: A Retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Once Upon A Time, #3)
  • Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of The Little Mermaid (Once Upon A Time, #4)
  • Scarlet Moon: A Retelling of Little Red Riding Hood (Once Upon A Time, #5)
  • Sunlight and Shadow: A Retelling of The Magic Flute (Once Upon A Time, #6)
  • Spirited (Once Upon A Time, #7)
  • Golden:  A Retelling of Rapunzel (Once Upon A Time, #9)
  • Water Song: A Retelling of The Frog Prince (Once Upon a Time, #10)
  • Before Midnight: A Retelling of Cinderella (Once Upon a Time, #11)

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