My rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
How I Got It: eBook Purchase
Publication Date: April, 2017
Publisher: W.R. Gingell
Point of View: 3rd Person Heroine
Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Yet another Gingell gem! This one really isn't a fairy tale retelling, at least not of any fairy tale I specifically recognized. But it has a strong fairy tale FEEL to it anyway. And it is set at a girl's boarding school of all places!
Reference was made in Masque to the time Annabel and Isabella spent together at Trentham's Finishing School for Young Ladies, and it was great fun to have that little slice of their history filled in. And more than filled in! This story is full of all the intrigue, suspense, and surprising turns of any Gingell novel, so it's definitely not a "fill in the blanks" story. It's not my FAVORITE of the series (that honor still belongs to Spindle), but I devoured it in just a few days, staying up way too late on work nights because I just needed ONE more page of fun . . . and then just ONE more page . . .
I was a bit concerned that Isabella, the main character from Masque, would overwhelm Annabel in this adventure. Isabella is SUCH a larger-than-life personality. But I was pleased at how well Gingell managed things so that both girls remained true to their established characters, while still allowing Annabel to shine as the star of the story. I might even actually prefer Annabel these days . . . after reading two adventures staring her, I've gotten attached!
The relationship between the two girls is the heart of the story, which is a fun change from some of the female-competitor mindset that can sometimes dominate this genre. But it's not JUST a gal-pal story . . . there's a strong dose of slow-burn romance going on around the edges as well. But I won't get into that because SPOILERS.
As with most of Gingell's adventures, this one was a tiny bit confusing, but I generally choose to shut off that part of my brain and just go with it when I read a Gingell book, because her writing, her characters, and her worlds are just TOO MUCH FUN. Everything she writes is a favorite, and I buy all of her books now just based on her name alone--I don't even wait to read what they're about. I just buy. She's that great!