Author: Julie Daines
Published: February 20th, 2014
Paperback: 200 pages
FTC FYI: Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
"It's thoroughly researched, expertly crafted, and it will sweep you off your feet with its beauty." -UCW
When sickness swept through Bronwen’s family, it took the life of her father, brother, and sister, and left her permanently crippled. On the stormy eve of her sixteenth birthday, a faerie-witch gifts her a pair of enchanted shoes. Bronwen slips them on and is healed--but only when the shoes are on her feet. Her grace and beauty catches the eye of the king’s son--Urien, a handsome young man who prides himself on having everything perfect.
When Rhys, an old acquaintance and Captain of the Guard, recognizes Bronwen, he threatens to tell Urien her secret. Desperate to keep her deformity hidden and not to lose the love of handsome Urien, Bronwen quickly finds herself tangled in a web of lies and deceit. After all, she can't wear the shoes forever.
Bronwen is a girl who has seen rough times. After sickness crippled her legs and killed most of her family, all her mother and her had were each other. We meet Bronwen and her mother on a stormy night where her mother tells her the faerie folks will be out causing mischief. No sooner does she say that, when the Grey Maiden, the Gwyllion, appears at their door. They give her shelter from the storm, all while the Gwyllion keeps staring at her crippled legs. This irritates Bronwen, but she prepares a room for her to sleep. While she is getting it ready, the Gwyllion comes to her tell her she knows what it is she wants. Bronwen is surprised by this, but knows that she must watch her while Bronwen is on the swifts.
"Before she could leave the room, the Gwyllion spoke again. Nothing more than a whisper, yet her words filled the room. "Who would want a crippled wife?"
Bronwen's head snapped up. She had never said those words out loud. Not to anyone. Not even her mother. She already knew the answer. It was why she wept sometimes at night. Why she hated the boys in the village who looked at her, then looked away. If she were whole, they would be vying for her favor even though they were all below her station.
She answered the Gwyllion's question. "No one."
"And yet you dream," the faerie witch said. "The stars do not shine on dreamers. They shine on those who see the truth." (page 6 - 7)"
The next morning Bronwen sees that the Grey Maiden is gone, but she has left Bronwen a gift, old shoes. Her curiosity gets the best of her, and she tries them on. The pain she experiences nearly knocks her out, but the pain is from her legs healing. She can stand and walk. Bronwen and her mother travels to town to present her to the king since she is of age. She meets the king's son, Urien, but recognizes Rhys from back home. She quickly decides to lie about her family name, in hopes that Rhys won't recognize her. And what happens next, starts a chain of events that tangle of web of more lies that have a hard time being unraveled. Bronwen gets herself in a mix of trouble, and tries to find her way out, but the only one who can save her is herself.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars. A fabulous read full of faerie legend and folklore. It is also a story of a girl who doubts herself and others because of her limitations. I loved the lessons that Bronwen learns. Even though it takes something pretty drastic for the truth to finally come out, I love how it all unravels. Julie did an amazing job with this book. There is heart, humor, adventure and characters that surprised me. Very enjoyable read.