Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jena is the second oldest sister in a family of five girls. She is the take charge person, family business person, and problem solver. The girls’ father, ailing and in frail health leaves their castle in the mountains for better weather and a much hoped for recovery in a better climate. While he is gone, Jena is to take care of the family finances and their merchant business while her older sister Tati helps out with household affairs. If they have any difficulty they are told they can count on their kind uncle Nicholae for counsel and help. As winter sets in and tragedy strikes the girls find themselves trapped under the domineering thumb of their cousin, Cezar, who is out for vengeance against the wildwood folk of ancient lore. Magic, mystery, romance, and true love all find a place in this novel.
The author is a wonderful writer, and the quality shows in how she builds her story. Her characters are thoughtfully developed and well rounded. And if you stick with it the story is well worth the time and effort. This book is definitely one that you appreciate more in hindsight than when you are at the beginning struggling with the foreign vocabulary. She does include a pronunciation guide and a glossary with pronunciations in it which are extremely helpful. If you like audio, you might listen to the audio version just to hear the words, places, and names said aloud—it really helped me in the beginning.
Highly recommended, but it will take a sophisticated reader who is willing to put up with the foreign names to get into this worthwhile and wonderful story.
Cautions for sensitive readers: Some violence is present, but there is no foul language or sexual descriptions.
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