Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: The Sweetest Spell

The Sweetest Spell
By Suzanne Selfors
Expected publication August 21, 2012 by Walker & Company

Emmeline Thistle was born a dirt-scratcher and, by all rights, she should have died soon after. Born with a curled foot, she was left in the woods to die, only to be protected by cows. Since her unnatural survival, the cows have continued to visit Emmeline and the people of her village think she possesses some sort of black magic. But when the unmarried men of Emmeline's village are taken away by the king (including her father) and a flood sweeps away her home, Emmeline will be set on a course to discover her true magic.

I have never read Selfors before - she always struck me a little too girly for me. But I couldn't resist picking up this one when my boss brought a galley back from TLA. It's basically a fairy tale about a girl who discovers she can make chocolate in a land where no one has seen chocolate for many generations. Yes, this book is pretty girly - I mean it's got all the traditional fairy tale elements and romance bits. But I also found this book quite irresistible. There is just something about the way this story is told that I didn't want to put it down. Emmeline is a sweet heroine who is incredibly easy to sympathize with. And Owen is an adorable hero. I couldn't help but root for their romance to blossom and work out. Selfors peppers her plot with a number of twists and obstacles that made me anxious to keep reading and see how the problems would be solved. I loved the layers of this story and the history of the land that Selfors created. This reminded me quite a bit of Wisdom's Kiss - it was sweet and clever and exciting and romantic. Yes, it may be a silly premise but it's a fairy tale after all - aren't most of them quite silly if you think about it? This book is actually a bit more sophisticated than it may initially come across, and I think it would easily be adored by lovers of fairy-tales and romance readers. There isn't much in the way of "teen" content (that I can think of off the top of my head), so it could also easily be recommended to tween readers. I found this book utterly charming and am thinking I may need to read some of Selfors' other work as well.

Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.

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