The Frog Prince
I wrote The Frog Prince during my Randell House residency in Wellington in 2018. The book takes as its starting point the Grimm Brothers’ tale The Frog King.
The book itself is a dual narrative, oscillating between a YA novel The Frog Prince written by Cara Bernstein, one of the protagonists, a teacher at an International School in Northern France. Cara’s novel talks of two sisters who are providing the Grimm brothers with folk tales sourced from their grandmother. One sister, Mathilde, has persuaded herself she is in love with Jacob Grimm. When their grandmother dies, the sisters devise an ersatz folk story, both to prolong the acquaintance and to send a coded message to Jacob. Wilhelm Grimm, suspecting their intention and, to protect his brother, sabotages their intent by rewriting their story.
Incidentally, beyond the sisters and their family almost all of the characters in the Kassel sections are historical figures.
The second narrative tells the story of New Zealander, David Cunningham, who teaches with Cara at the school. He is in love with her but is left bewildered when Cara disappears while they are holidaying together in Bonn. Cara’s disappearance is prolonged and it becomes apparent that it was quite deliberate on her part. However, why she decided to leave everything is a mystery, which obsesses David, fascinates the other staff, and is finally unravelled.