Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis
Cassandra Harwood lives in 19th-century Angland, where men work as magicians and women are in charge of politics. But, Cassandra has never fit into any mold.
4 months after Cassandra tragically lost her ability to cast spells, she has accompanied her brother and sister-in-law to a gathering in the elven dales. But, even as they were traveling, they knew something was wrong. The unseasonably harsh snowfall has continued, leaving them snowbound. Not all of the guests will be able to arrive. And, Cassandra is in deep trouble. During the search for missing members of the party, she uttered a few words overheard by a manipulative elf lord, words that committed her to a task. Obligated to find out who caused the strange change of weather, Cassandra will suffer a horrible fate if she fails.
While Cassandra searches for answers she must also deal with the presence of her former fiancé, who still does not understand that she left him for his own good. Will Cassandra discover the answer in time to save herself from the wily elf lord? What will happen between Cassandra and Wrexham, the man she still loves but desires to protect?
It took me a couple chapters to figure out exactly what was going on in Snowspelled and really get into the book. And, then I was unsure who the audience was meant to be, since Stephanie Burgis writes across age ranges and the book is quite short at a mere 153 pages. After I arrived at a scene that was very adult, I decided I'd better ask. The author confirmed to me that Snowspelled is an adult fantasy novel, hence the recommendation for a specific crowd in my labels. There are no particularly graphic scenes so I wouldn't worry if a child walks off with your copy, though. The "adult" bits are limited to a bit of innuendo.
At any rate, once I got into the storyline, I really enjoyed it. There's a great cast in Snowspelled but even though Cassandra (called "Harwood" by her former fiancé) is staying at a large estate with a sizeable cast of characters, you only get to know those who are entirely necessary to the plot; the author doesn't overwhelm you with characters (much appreciated). And, I particularly loved the characters who were closest to the heroine. Brother Jonathan is a bit of a rebel, himself, and sister-in-law Amy is quite simply delightful. Ex-fiancé Wrexham is the kind of man you really want your heroine to fall in love with. And, the ending scene is both clever and satisfying. The story is fully wrapped up, no cliffhanger ending.
Highly recommended - A quick, delightful read, first in a series, that is both romantic and adventurous. Read it for a change of pace, a touch of magic, a taste of romance, especially if you're looking for a light, charming read to break a dark mood or a slump. I found myself smiling a lot and I was definitely in the mood for something light since I've been a bit slumpy, post-vacation.
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