A New York Times bestselling author offers a brilliant reinvention of one of the best-known fairy tales of all time with Snow White as a gunslinger in the mythical Wild West.
Forget the dark, enchanted forest. Picture instead a masterfully evoked Old West where you are more likely to find coyotes as the seven dwarves. Insert into this scene a plain-spoken, appealing narrator who relates the history of our heroine’s parents—a Nevada silver baron who forced the Crow people to give up one of their most beautiful daughters, Gun That Sings, in marriage to him. Although her mother’s life ended as hers began, so begins a remarkable tale: equal parts heartbreak and strength. This girl has been born into a world with no place for a half-native, half-white child. After being hidden for years, a very wicked stepmother finally gifts her with the name Snow White, referring to the pale skin she will never have. Filled with fascinating glimpses through the fabled looking glass and a close-up look at hard living in the gritty gun-slinging West, this is an utterly enchanting story…at once familiar and entirely new.
Valente's adaptation of the fairy tale to the Old West provides a witty read with complex reverberations from the real world. Snow White is the daughter of a Crow woman abducted and forced into marriage by an unloving white magnate called only Mr. H. She gets her name in mockery, as white is "the one thing I was not and could never be." When her father remarries, Snow White's glimpse into the second Mrs. H's mirror suggests they share the yoke of female subservience, but the two are inevitably at odds so the young woman dons a man's clothes and, like Huck Finn, chooses the "Indian Territory" that so frightens Mr. H's world. Enter a pursuing Pinkerton's detective, a pony named Charming, seven kick-ass outlaw ladies, and a variety of showdowns as Snow White searches for meaning, love, and a semblance of belonging. Any attempt to derive a simple message from this work would be an injustice to the originality of the atmosphere, the complexity of the interplay of its elements, and the simple pleasure of savoring Valente's exuberant writing.