Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment.
But Sorcha's joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.
When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all...
I read this book to fill the Grimm Tale square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.
To understand how much I love this novel, I must tell you how much I loved a Classics Illustrated version of The Wild Swans that I had as a child. It was one of the first things that I ever read all by myself and I read that comic book until it was tattered. This book is a retelling of that Hans Christian Andersen tale, which he probably heard as The Six Swans through the Brothers Grimm.
This version sets the story back into a pagan Irish setting, another thing that I absolutely adore. I’m a firm lover of the Fae, who seem to be behind most of the action in this version. I’m also enthusiastic about the details that Ms. Marillier has added to the tale. In the Andersen version, the brother left with a swan’s wing at the end is eventually fully restored to humanity, but Finbar in this version is left longing for his swan mate, since swans mate for life. I think the poignancy of the story is also improved by the modern realization that a person couldn’t spend years as a swan without having significant emotional issues.
I’m not sure how many New Zealand authors that I’ve actually read, but if Juliet Marillier is any indication of the talent available in that country, I will be seeking out more. It’s hard to divide the charm of the story from the quality of the writing—both are top notch in this book. This is yet another example of young adult literature providing excellence that I can fully appreciate.
For starters, DUKES! I don’t care how many make-believe dukes have been created, I’ll read them for as long as they keep writing them. Secondly, Christmas! I’ll admit that I prefer to read dark, scary, paranormal stories during the month of October, but c’mon, who can say no to Christmas stories, specially when they are written by some of your favorite authors and they all come together in one pretty package!
And that actually brings me to say that thirdly, it’s freaking Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe, what?! If you haven’t read books by them then let me tell you, you are missing out on some serious awesomeness. And in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a super fan of all of these ladies so forgive me if I gush too much.
Tessa Dare’s Meet Me in Mayfair was clever, funny, and oh, so romantic. It probably is one of the most charming and memorable “date” nights I have ever read.
Sarah MacLean’s The Duke of Christmas Present is a second-chance love story. There were some serious tug-at-your-heart scenes, specially when the heroine returns “home.” It was kind of hard for me to understand the reasoning behind both the hero and heroine’s actions but once I got to the end, everything made complete sense.
Sophie Jordan’s Heiress Alone was another great example of how chemistry between hero and heroine affects a story, even if it’s a short one and even if the romance happens rather quickly.
Joanna Shupe’s Christmas in Central Park had me worrying and suffering along with the poor heroine, and had me wanting to slap the hero upside the head for acting like a spoiled brat that just had to have his way. Their love story may had been full of funny and cringe-worthy moments but the way their forgive and reach their HEA made it all worth it.
In short, four different settings, four different kinds of delicious dukes, four great Christmas stories, and one happy reader that recommends this set to all historical romance lovers. Even if Christmas is not your cup of tea, the romance alone make this a perfect read. 4.5 stars.
*I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher**
Not much to say besides how much I adored this one. It's fairly short, about 80/90 pages with illustrations (e-book version). The illustrations are really what sold this book to me though. They make the story come alive.
"The Sleeper and the Spindle" begins with some dwarves who have gone into a neighboring kingdom and heard about a castle where everyone is sleeping. Through the years the sleep spell has spread and now many people feel they are all doomed to sleep. The dwarves go back to their own kingdom and meet with the Queen (otherwise known as her Majesty) and she is told about the sleep spell. Though she's to be married (like the next day) she decides to ride off with the dwarves to see about breaking the spell.
I loved that Gaiman never gives you anyone's name. He pretty much treats it as if you should know who people are at this point.
Hint, it's Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. What I thought worked really well is that it is heavily implied and then shown that Snow White's battle with her stepmother and all that entails has left her marked in a ways. She's not exactly jumping up and down to rule.
I loved the twist ending since I thought it was heading in a different direction. Now I need a follow-up to this story.
Wow what a great retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The flow was a bit of a problem throughout. However, Spooner did such as great job with character development that it didn’t bother me. I also loved that the curse in This story was really about want and desire. I thought that Yeva and the Beast were very good opposites of each other, one light and one dark.
Hunted begins with the story of the young daughter of a merchant (Yeva also known as Beauty) and her two sisters. The family is fairly well to do and the one sister is engaged to be married and Yeva has caught the eye of a man who is to be the Baron’s heir. However the girls’ father loses their fortune and they have to go and live in the woods. The father becomes a little bit mad in the woods and then eventually goes missing. Yeva goes out to find him and finds his dead body. She ends up captured by the Beast.
Spooner alternates between third person with Yeva and others and first person when we have the Beast telling us his thoughts on Beauty. Yeva doesn’t Initially understand about the Beast because he keeps her blindfolded. But when she looks upon his face she sees him as a monster and accuses him of murdering her father. The Beast does not tell her that he’s not the murderer instead he starts training her to hunt something. Every day for months Yeva is taken out into the forest and taught to shoot her father’s bow and arrow.
I really like the Beast and Yeva. They were written very well. Spooner also did a very good job with her sisters, the father, the two sisters love interests, and everybody else. She also did a very good job of mixing in fairy tale elements as well. I also thought it was pretty cool that Yeva tells the Beast tales and it echoed Arabian Nights a little bit.
I did think the flow was a bit off. The first bit before they move to the woods dragged too. However, the book eventually evens out.
Very interesting ending and I thought a great retelling of Beauty and the Beast with enough unique elements of its own.