Publishers Weekly, 2007-08-27 Inspired by French fairy tales, Tomlinson's first novel takes the motif of the "swan maiden"- a beautiful young woman who can assume the form of a swan-and embroiders it into an elaborate romantic fantasy. Doucette, the 16-year-old daughter of a count, longs to be a swan maiden like her two older sisters, Azelais and Cecilia, who can perform sorcery, but for the past six years her parents have led her to believe that she was born without a "swan skin." While her sisters spend each summer with Tante Mahalt perfecting their magic, Doucette undergoes year-round tutelage from their domineering mother in running a noble household-until she discovers the swan skin her mother has hidden from her since birth. Tomlinson presents Doucette's subsequent adventures as a series of forks in the road: Stay with her mother or fly to Tante Mahalt? Marry her true love, the shepherd Jaume, or be made queen? Sacrifice her swan self, and her magic, in exchange for love? The prose rarely rises above the serviceable ("Soft as milk, as clouds, as snow, the dappled swan skin enveloped her in a luscious warmth"); rather, it's the fast-moving plot that will engage readers. Fans of Shannon Hale's Goose Girl and Juliet Marillier's Daughter of the Forest form the likeliest audience. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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