May 13, 2011

Once Upon a Winter's Night by Dennis L. McKiernan

Title:  Once Upon a Winter's Night
Author:  Dennis L. McKiernan
Format:  PB
Pages:  412
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Roc, 2002
ISBN-13:  978-0451458544
Series:  Faery Series, Book 1

Favorite Quote:  "I was just wondering whose silver tongue or golden pen is telling the tale we find ourselves in."

Synopsis (Back Cover):  Once upon a winter's night, a poor crofter trades his daughter Camille to wed Prince Alain of the Summerwood in exchange for a lifetime of riches.  Though love blossoms between Camille and the prince, he is haunted by sadness and will not allow her to see his unmasked face.  Believing she can lift whatever curse has been bestowed upon him, Camille acts on her own -- with devastating results, as all she loves is swept away.

Now, to regain what she has lost, she must embark on a desperate quest through the hinterlands of Faery, seeking a mysterious place lying somewhere east of the sun and west of the moon...

Review:  This story is based upon the old fairy tale, 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon'.  I have never read the original tale, but it is a very short story.  This version has been lengthened considerably, with great details, richness and adventure.  The characters are so well written as to be almost alive.  The vistas seem so real.  The way this story is told reminds me again why I do adore this author.

This novel has high adventure, plenty of wondrous fey creatures, and humor.  But, at the core, this is a love story.  And, what a fabulous love story it is.  Even though I usually steer clear of romances of any kind, this one is so well done that I could not help but be drawn in.

There are four more books in this series, each one generally following a different fairy tale.  While I believe the characters remain the same and that the basic storyline will continue, I do not feel the dire need to complete them back to back.  There was no cliffhanger here, with the exception of a future battle against evil foretold by the Fates, which Camille, Alain and his family will eventually have to face.

While I enjoyed this story thoroughly, I know my limits on reading anything in the romance genre.  For now, I will move on to something a little less 'romance-y'.  I will certainly read the rest of this series, of that I have no doubt.

Rating:  8 / 10

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