Once Upon A Winter’s Night by Dennis McKiernan
I have started reading a series by Dennis McKiernan. This series evolves around the world of Faery. It has adventure, magic, retelling of old fairy tales in a fairly modern manner. In this book, Once Upon a Winter’s Night, we follow the tale of Camille and her beloved Alain. Camille lives with her sister, brother, and parents in a run-down shack. They are poor beyond belief and one day a bear comes to their home with a note that she must marry an unknown prince and if she does, her family will have riches beyond belief and be taken care of for the rest of their lives. Camille sees no debate to the issue, while her family does, but soon it is decided that she go with the bear, into the land of Faery, where time does not exist as it does in the mortal realm. She soon perceives that she never sees her prince in the morn, but rather only the bear and the prince comes out at night, under the guise of a mask. What all is hidden under the mask, she does not know, nor is she allowed to know. Only that she may never see the prince, Alain, without his mask. One night, she tires of not seeing the true prince underneath the mask and she sets up a ruse to see him without his mask. No sooner than she sees him as such, then a mighty wind rushes through the castle and everyone vanishes and the castle is under attack. What then begins for Camille is a quest to find her beloved, and along the way she learns more about herself and the world of Faery in which she lives. She helps to solve riddles that are years old and helps lost ones find their true selves again. She only has her small sparrow with her for companionship and along the way she encounters help from means she never would have imagined. In the end, does she complete her quest in time, or does she lose Alain forever to the passage of time, never to hold her beloved again?
Camille learns various lessons on her journey and transforms from the naïve girl she is at the beginning; into the grown woman she is becoming at the end.
Overall the story is beautifully written. The descriptions are exquisite and always leaves you wanting more. You can truly picture yourself there and the characters, though there are many, are easy to keep separate because each one is so vastly different from the other, even ones that are of the same race. I can’t wait to get started on the second book in the series!