Golden (Once Upon a Time series), by Cameron Dokey
When I saw what "Golden" was about, I was intrigued. After all, a version of "Rapunzel" in which Rapunzel is bald and will never, ever grow hair? Where would one even go with that?
Dokey did an amazing job with it, even if it didn't work out quite like I expected.
The story starts out in the usual way. Rapunzel's mom is pregnant and has cravings for, well, rapunzel (which is a green leafy vegetable also known, among other names, as lamb's lettuce). Rapunzel's father climbs the wall and steals the rapunzel for his wife and the sorceress catches him and says that if his wife can love the baby that she is pregnant with, they can keep the baby, but if she cannot, he will have to give the baby to the sorceress.
Wait -- Rapunzel's parents have a choice in this? It's not just a punishment for the theft?
Not this time. And, as I said before, Rapunzel is born without hair, which causes her mother to reject her. So, reluctantly, her father relinquishes her to the sorceress.
We learn that the sorceress's name is Melisande, and her only magical ability lies in reading the hearts of others.
Melisande is a loving mother to Rapunzel. Until Rapunzel turns 16, they live together in a small cottage near a small village where they have a small farm. They have two friends, a tinker named Mr. Jones and his assistant, Harry. Mr. Jones took Harry in years earlier when Harry's own parents died. Mr. Jones and Harry travel a lot, but they visit Melisande and Rapunzel whenever they are in the area. And wherever they go, Harry keeps his eyes open for interesting kerchiefs for Rapunzel's head. One of Rapunzel's favorites is covered with the images of Black-Eyed Susans, her favorite flower.
When Rapunzel is 16, a disease breaks out in the village, and the villagers blame it on Melisande. She and Rapunzel end up having to leave the area. While they are traveling, Melisande tells Rapunzel that she took her in because she knew that Rapunzel's biological mother would never be able to love her, and that Rapunzel needed a mother's love. And, not coincidentally, Melisande needed access to someone able to love. You see, Melisande has a daughter who has been locked in a waking sleep in a tower for the last 20 years. The spell can only be broken and the daughter, Rue, released, by someone who loves her, other than her mother.
After getting over her feelings of betrayal, Rapunzel solves the conundrum -- I won't say how -- and everyone gets their happy ending.