Author: Sherwood Smith
Publication: DAW Hardcover; 1 edition (September 7, 2010)
Description: In this new fantasy series, a young woman takes her own destiny by the hand-and the hilt.
California girl Kim Murray is unsatisfied with grad school and restless in life. Modern men disappoint her, and she studies ballet and fencing because they remind her of older, more romantic times.
She lives with her parents and her beloved but secretive aristocratic grandmother, who speaks only French and refuses to share stories about the mysterious family she left behind in Europe, inspiring Kim to travel there and find her roots.
Kim soon finds herself swept up in an adventure of fantastic deceptions and passionate intrigue-and a shocking realization about her own bloodline that leaves her reeling.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this new Sherwood Smith story. I could empathize with Kim who was on a quest to find out about her family history. I liked her close relationship with her grandmother. She was certainly intrepid - heading off to Europe alone to try to track down her ancestry.
I also liked Alec. He was a rather mysterious character who was certain that Kim was actually his runaway fiancée Aurelia. He was well-educated, handsome, and very concerned with his duty to the country that he would rule.
What I thought was a bit confusing was the complicated political situation in Dobrenica, a small, mythical country in the Carpathians. There are apparently five important families who have traded off leadership of the country over the centuries which has been complicated by German and Russian occupations of the country. Currently, Alec's family is in charge. His fiancée's brother Tony is also fomenting revolt because he feels his family should be in charge.
Kim learns that her grandmother is a runaway princess and she is thrust into the political situation. The fantasy elements include the fact that Kim sees ghosts including that of some of her ancestors. Another fantasy element is that there is a magic in the country that allows the country to disappear if certain conditions are meant. Alec wishes to invoke this magic but needs his errant fiancée to accomplish his goal. Complications ensue when he falls in love with Kim and has to choose between love and duty. This echoes the decision that Kim's grandmother made two generations earlier.
I enjoyed the book. The action and romance were compelling. I recommend this book to lovers of romantic fantasy. I am eager to see the rest of the series to find out what happens next.
Geez, why wasn't he shorter than Napoleon, round as a beachball, balding, a cheery avuncular guy? Except a short, beachball-shaped, balding, cheerfully avuncular guy in a mullet and cowboy belt who spoke with that voice--warm, melted chocolate when he was smiling, the whisper of silver when his mood had shifted beyond that invisible wall of good manners, hiding whatever he was feeling, the smooth edge of steel when he was angry--would be equally compelling.Challenges: RYOB Reading Challenge