Author: Jenny Lundquist
Genre: Young Adult
Reviewed by Nancy Pennick
When Elara and Wilha are brought face to face, an intimate connection is exposed, as well as answers that force them to play the part of the other. As both are thrust into lives they never knew existed, hidden conspiracies begin to surface, and the fate of two opposing kingdoms rests squarely on their untrained shoulders.
Follow two unforgettable journeys that lead these characters to roles they were always born to play.
The press release said the book re-images Cinderella and The Man in the Iron Mask but it reminded me more of The Prince and the Pauper. That aside, I’d like to say it’s fun to just read a book without being told that it’s like something else. The story of Elara and Wilha is so intriguing that readers can come to their own conclusions. Told in first person by both girls, the story begins with Elara. She lives as a servant in her adoptive parents’ house and, like Cinderella, is not treated well. She has one “stepsister” who wasn’t quite mean but more self-centered. Things are not quite as they seem and the reader will figure out that Elara has some connection to the King and his daughter, Wilha.
Wilha has been forced to wear a mask all her life. No one has ever seen her face. She doesn’t understand why she has to do this, but follows her father’s orders. She lives a lonely existence except for her relationship with Patrick, the young man who trains her in defense.
Eventually the two girls meet, under unusual circumstances. Without giving away too much of the story, they get together only to go their separate ways again. Both girls must make sacrifices and huge decisions before the conclusion of the novel. There is a sequel so not all questions are answered.
The book is hard to put down. I read it rather quickly. It’s an engaging story and if you like historical and/or fairytales, you’ll find this quite enjoyable. The only problem I had with the story is that characters from Elara’s life in the early parts of the book—the adoptive parents, the step sister and childhood friend—were never to be heard from or mentioned again. Perhaps in the second novel they will be. I felt that way about Wilha’s former life, too. There is definitely more to come and I know I will be looking forward to the sequel.