Book Suggestions For Tween Girls
Grisly Grisell

Book Suggestions For Tween Girls posted by Faustina Bowen on January 9, 2022.

We have an abundance of book suggestions for tween girls but the top recommendation beloved for its chivalry, innocent romance and excitement is none other than A Tale of the War of the Roses Grisly Grisell by Charlotte M. Yonge.

A curious title, indeed, but one of the most touching stories of courage, love and devotion ever written!
-Angelus Press

This novel is so high on Industrious Family's favorite book suggestions for tween girls that we could not help but turn it into a movie!

When we were brainstorming for our third film, Grisly Grisell came out on top because the girl in me was attracted to the fairy tale aspect of this story and I knew that we could pull off a picture book telling of the classic while improving our sets.

I also wanted a chance to let one of my actresses have the spotlight as I had noticed her talent in previous films even though she had only been an extra in Outlaws of Ravenhurst and Max & Carlota.

The most challenging part of this film was working with gun powder and creating Grisell's post-accident make up.

Some Background On Our Top Book Suggestions For Tween Girls

Grisly Grisell is set in a confusing time of English history, but let me try to explain the situation. The king is mad, as in insane. The queen is French. Although the king and queen do have a son, half the people of their nation do not believe that the child is truly their son. 

As they have just come out of a one-hundred-year war with France, the people still have some prejudices against the idea of a French queen and will suspect her of anything.

This side of the war supports the Duke of York, the king's brother, and the White Rose. Grisell's family is on this side of the war.

The White Rose adherents hold that the Duke of York ought to rule alongside the king as his advisor and heir. This is in fact what ended up happening, the present Duke of York's son becoming the king after the war is over.

The Red Rose holds that the Prince of Wales is the true son of the king and queen and, therefore, the rightful heir.

This the first of two times that the British people suspected such a thing of their king, the second being the Old Pretender some three hundred years later.

The Influences On The Characters In Grisly Grisell

Grisell and Leonard live in a time when all Christians were Catholic. Both sides of the war were Catholics. Monks and nuns are met intermittently throughout our top book on the list for book suggestions for tween girls. It was not a battle of spiritual beliefs, but one of temporal ideals that caught Grisell and Leonard's world.

Both Leonard and Grisell are portrayed as having a strong Catholic upbringing. Although Sir Leonard is a little wild when he is young, it is the Catholic faith which keeps him from being a total disaster as perhaps a young man with his spirit would be in our times.

Leonard is passionate about his cause, however, and loves his queen almost as much as he loves his "fairest Eleanor". 

Grisell is deeply religious, and it is this religious attitude that saves her from despair. Although she is mistreated by her family, she finds comfort at the convent and praying in her own room when she returns to her castle. 

She is deeply in love with Sir Leonard, but is content with resigning herself to a religious life in order to save him from being bound to an ugsome bride. She does not appear to care too much which way the war goes. It is the bloodshed alone which causes her grief. 

This clash of personalities and dealing with the struggles of youth and learning to accept sufferings contribute to this being one of the best book suggestions for tween girls

A Brief History Of The Author Of Grisly Grisell

Charlotte M. Yonge was a woman author who was writing in the middle-late 19th century. She was born in 1823, in Hampshire, England. Grisly Grisell was published in 1893.

Considering the time in which she lived, it is likely that she was influenced by the works of Jane Austen. She in turn likely influenced the writings of Louisa May Alcott. She died in 1901.

We read both Grisly Grisell and Lances of Lynwood as part of our homeschool curriculum. We love the story for its true lesson that beauty is more than skin deep. This is one of the most important lessons girls should learn, the younger the better. Hence this being the top of our book suggestions for tween girls even though boys like the story as well.

Out of all the book suggestions for tween girls, we knew that this one had to be a movie. This will be our third major motion picture when it's released in 2022.

More Detailed Book Reviews Of Our Book Suggestions For Tween Girls

A Tale Of The War Of The Roses Grisly Grisell

Grisly Griesll is top on book our list of book suggestions for tween girls. Overflowing with virtuous examples, this novel will keep you eagerly turning the pages. It is a touching ugly duckling tale that holds the imagination from start to finish.


Book Suggestions for Tween Girls

Long before we ever decided to make a movie based on this book suggestions for tween girls, we liked it enough to make a book cover for it. We felt bad that it didn't have a cover anywhere else with an image of this long suffering girl!


Another one of our book suggestions for tween girls is none other than Cardinal Nicholas Patrick Wiseman's Fabiola. This novel sweeps the reader to the early Roman persecutions where martyrs shed their blood for the prosperity of the Church and for the conversion of sinners. 

Their examples are outstanding and, though they do not know it, the conversion of the proud and haughty Fabiola will someday be the fruit of their sufferings.



Next up on our book suggestions for tween girls is Heidi. Heidi is about...well, Heidi, a virtuous little girl and her many adventures. This is one of the most enduring stories ever written. 

Life in the nineteenth century rural Swiss Alps is compared to the urban city of Frankfort, Germany, as the story unfolds. This book shows that Christian virtues can be evident anywhere and in anyone, as seen in the actions of Heidi, and the other characters. A must-read on our book suggestions for tween girls!


Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen is a story about five sisters and the romantic lives of three of them. Jane Austen, does a perfect job of setting up her characters, making the reader feel like they can actually crack into the characters' minds and think the way they think and feel the way they feel. 

We have this book on our list of book suggestions for tween girls because Jane Austen does a great job of showing every young girl that people are not always the way they appear to be when you first meet them.


Meet The Actors Who Brought Grisly Grisell To The Screen

While making our movie from our top book suggestions for tween girls, we were very excited to welcome back old and new actors.

They all put a lot into the movie. Thank you, everyone, we couldn't have done it without any of you! Meet the faces of the Grisly Grisell cast, old and new, below.

Abbey Erskine - Grisell

Introducing Abbey as our heroine from our favorite of all book suggestions for tween girls, Grisell, in Grisly Grisell!

Abbey has been with us since our first film, Outlaws of Ravenhurst, but this is her first casted role.

We can’t wait to share this young actress’s talents with you in our upcoming film: Grisly Grisell!

Michael Bowen -  Leonard

Michael will be making his third appearance in Grisly Grisell as Sir Leonard.

He has done a great job portraying the hero of the story.

In Outlaws of Ravenhurst, Michael starred as Sir James Gordon. In our second film, Max & Carlota, he took the lead role as Maximilian. Thank you for joining us, again, Michael!

Todd Grover - Ridley

Welcome to our filmmaking productions, Todd!

Todd is one of our newest actors and is appearing in Grisly Grisell as the squire Ridley.

In this role, he is Grisell's single support, encouraging her to be brave as well as smuggling her out of the country when things get too dangerous for her to remain. Great job, Todd!

Faustina Bowen - Lady Whitburn

Faustina will be making her third appearance as well in Grisly Grisell 

She has greatly enjoyed portraying a thoroughly ridiculous and somewhat humorous villain in our rendering of the top of our book suggestions for tween girls as Lady Whitburn.

In the past, Faustina had the roles of Mammy Abel in Outlaws of Ravenhurst and Carlota in Max & Carlota. Thank you for joining us, again, Faustina!

James Phillips - Pierce Hardcastle

Welcome back, James!

James acted Squire Pierce Hardcastle as well as King Edward V in Grisly Grisell.

Formerly, James has acted Godfrey in Outlaws of Ravenhurst and General Miguel Maramón in Max & Carlota.

You always bring so much laughter and fun to the set. Thank you for joining us again, James!

Isabella Treskon - Thora

Introducing Isabella!

We are very excited to share with you the talents of this young actress in her first role as Thora in Grisly Grisell. In addition, she also plays Lady Margaret of York.

She is very enthusiastic. Keep it up, Isabella!

Stacy Phillips - Mother of the Maids

Introducing Stacy!

Although this is her first time acting, Stacy has faithfully made sure James arrived on time ever since his first scene in Outlaws of Ravenhurst.

Thank you so much for joining us this time, Stacy, and all your support in the past! You are a perfect Mother of the Maids in Grisly Grisell.

Thomas Erskine and Becket Bowen - Sid and Samuel

Thomas and Becket appear as Sid and Samual in Grisly Grisell. Welcome back, guys!

Formerly, Becket and Thomas were buddies as the Gordon and his "twin", Joel, in Outlaws of Ravenhurst

This time the two had fun being the thugs who are Lady Whitburn's little sidekicks and execute her every wish. 

Becket has also appeared on screen as Colonel Miguel Lopez in Max & CarlotaGreat job rocking the bad guy role, you two!

Kathleen Bowen - Lady Salisbury

Introducing Kathleen as Lady Salisbury in Grisly Grisell!

In all movies past, Kathleen has been a major part of making things run smoothly behind the scenes as well as being an extra, but in this film, she will make an appearance as Lady Salisbury.

Thank you for joining us, Mom! We wouldn’t be here without all your support, and we can’t wait to see you shine in Grisly Grisell!

Matt Bowen - Lord Salisbury

Welcome back, Matt! Matt is filling the role of  Lord Salisbury in Grisly Grisell

In the past, Matt has acted as Sir Angus in Outlaws of Ravenhurst in which we beheaded him on the Castle Noz dance floor. Thank you for joining us again, Dad!

Eleanor Treskon - Sr. Avice

Welcome to our set, Eleanor! Eleanor played the role as Sister Avice in Grisly Grisell.

Sister Avice is a refuge of Christian virtue who teaches Grisell to love the good and desire to please and serve God through her fellow men. 

Of course, there are many other actors who we have not listed here. Each of them gave it his all, and we are very proud of all of their performances!

Costumes From The Movie

For this movie, we really wanted some nice costumes for our characters. We went through all the effort of raising the script from our top book suggestions for tween girls and wanted the movie to be as good as we could make it!

Making the Most of Color

We had fun using color to distinguish character couples and families. We were excited to do this because sometimes it's hard to follow who goes to who and which character is which. With a visual reminder, we hope that our mainly children audience can easier follow the storyline and know which characters belong to each other.

Besides the red and white rose tunics separating between Red Rose and White Rose for the men, we also had themed colors for the couples.

Lord and Lady Salisbury wear purple and sit in their purple curtained hall. Lady Whitburn wears red, which Grisell accents with the red in her navy blue dress.

The use of color and investing in a steamer really helped make the costumes look crisp. My only disappointment with the costumes is the fabric choice. The material is Halloween costume quality and did not reflect stage light the way I wanted it too.

Grisly Grisell Budget

Total: $8683.68

With the budget that we were working with for making the top book suggestions for tween girls come to life, however, we are satisfied with the overall look we were able to achieve. We will be investing in higher quality costumes for main roles and average material for less important roles in our next film.

Favorite Sets From The Movie

During the early preproduction stages of Grisly Grisell, we decided we were going to focus on investing the most in sets.

Like the costumes, our sets supported characters by taking on different colors. 

Grisell's Chamber

One of our best sets was Grisell’s chamber. We made it look homey, yet simple because this was a time when Grisell was not being given much by her step mother. We had our floor loom in the corner to suggest industry, while Grisell herself is spinning a roving which is piled in the basket beside her. 

Hanging from the wall we placed some drying herbs with the compounds just beneath to show her medicinal knowledge learned at the convent. We were fortunate enough to borrow a very ornamental Prie Dieu. It features a beautiful piece of tapestry!

Nunnery Interior

We wanted the nunnery to really play its part well, even though it takes such a small part in Grisly Grisell.

Since the religious at that time were well-known for their knowledge of medicinal herbs, we had the hand grinder which Sister Avice uses in the scene.

The walls we left bare and white to impress the nuns’ religious poverty. Although they live in a spirit of poverty, the nuns are portrayed filled with happiness and exultation as they enjoy flowers and their life of prayer. 

Nunnery Exterior

For the outdoor nunnery of Wilton, we actually found a convent near us in California.

The Discalced Carmalite Nuns of Sacramento were kind enough to allow us to film at their beautiful convent. As these nuns live cloistered lives, we did not get to see them and just went, shot and left.

The road was a little steep and scared some of our actors and moms, so we will have to scout our unknown locations a little better next time!

Whitburn Dining Hall

The Whitburn Dining Hall was another fun set. We wanted to make the feeling stoic and gloomy, especially in contrast to Salisbury Hall.

The walls are hung with burgundy red to match the lady of the tower. The place is also ill-lit, setting a gloom on the place.

We were quite happy with the effect of these efforts. The gloom and deep colors set the stage for Lady Whitburn’s bitter temper and constant fault finding.

Bruges Inn

For the Bruges Inn, we wanted a clean tavern, showing the days when a person could walk into one and not meet revelry. Grisell works here with smoke always on the set, which we provided with a bee smoker. This was to give the effect that Grisell goes from her position of honor to being a common laborer who has nowhere better to stay than a common inn.

The beam we built with 2x4s nailed together. We placed a pumpkin on the table to pay homage to the Cinderella nature of the story.

Mini Village

The mini village idea was one of the most ambitious ideas yet. We bought small cardboard buildings and green screened all the outdoor scenes onto these backdrops.

In this way we were able to shoot at Salisbury castle, Bruges, and Whitburn Tower on all the same day! The cardboard buildings gave a very pleasing fairytale effect. 

Grisell's Chamber at Salisbury Castle

Grisell's accident occurs at Salisbury Castle. This is her room after she is injured. We wanted to give the effect that Grisell's sickroom is one full of calm and peace.

The Salisburys themselves wear purples. We put up blue curtains and had a bouquet of lavender in the corner (to suggest a soothing scent). We are very happy with the effect.

The Shoot Days

For this movie, we were fortunate to have been able to rent a garage for a studio. This made things much easier because we had a place to apply makeup, a small dressing room for the actors to change in, as well as sets we could set up and leave until we were done using them.

We also decided that, at the beginning of every shoot, we would start with stretches, a team-building game, a prayer and then move into the studio to start shooting. 

This worked great! The actors had a chance to play with each other before getting to work, and everyone entered the day with an attitude that they were there to have fun.

The shoots themselves were very smooth. We had ironed out a lot of the lumps through trial and error and were able to eliminate much of the headache we experienced in the past. 

The actors cooperated, we knew what angles looked more professional, and we were committed to asking the actors to redo until it was satisfactory.

The result: a movie about our top book suggestions for tween girls that everyone was proud to be a collaborator in!

Grisly Grisell Music Score Also By Music Forge

Grisly Grisell has been sent off to Music Forge. We were very pleased with the Max & Carlota Soundtrack which was produced by the same composer.

He has already come up with some beautiful pieces for this movie. We are looking at early spring for its completion!

Grisly Grisell Premiere

After much preparation and excitement, Grisly Grisell finally premiered May 12, 2022! We had a formal red carpet premiere at our local movie theater.

After watching the movie, the guests were invited to join us for an after-party with cake and hor d'oeuvres. We hosted a silent auction and danced throughout the evening. 

Below are some images from the event. Click on the images to enlarge and read the gallery.

Grisly Grisell Showing Locations

The music will hopefully be done early spring 2022. That will put us premiering late summer and fall 2022. We are hoping to do several premieres in Catholic Parishes across the western United States. So far on the schedule is:

  • St. Joan Of Arc in Post Falls, ID
  • North American Martyrs in Seattle, WA
  • St. Joseph's in Tacoma, WA

Check back to see if we will be at a location near you!

Book Suggestions For Tween Girls Bottom Line

We had so much fun making one of our top favorite book suggestions for tween girls into a film. Filled with chivalrous knights, picture-book castles, and an undercurrent of innocent romance, Grisly Grisell is a Catholic film the entire family will enjoy and be pleased to add to their good family movies collection. And the book should certainly find its place among your favorite book suggestions for tween girls.

What Book Suggestions For Tween Girls Would You Like To See Made Into Film? Share Them In The Discus Below!

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