By K. M. Shea
Elise is no hero. She would rather balance the castle’s expense accounts than become her country’s champion. But she doesn’t have a choice since her step-mother, a wicked withc, cursed the seven princes of Arcainia, Elise’s foster-brothers, and transformed them into swans. To free her foster-brothers Elise agrees to knit seven shirts made of stinging nettles. She must complete the shirts without uttering a word.
For the sake of safety and secrecy, Elise fless Arcainia and struggles to survive in the wild. Even though she is mute, trails seven wild swans, and knits like a mad-woman, Elise catches the eye of a foreign prince, who drags her back to his family’s castle where she is tormented by the prince’s evil father. With her step-mother hunting her foster-brothers and the foreign king threatening to kill her, Elise’s dedication to her task is sorely tested. But if Elise does not finish the shirts, Arcainia and her foster-brothers will be lost. Can a mathematician be the hero needed to save the day?
I have really enjoyed reading K. M. Shea’s books, and this is the book that goes between Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella and the Colonel. I was excited, but wondered why this book got lower ratings than the other two. After reading it I can understand why because having loved the two aforementioned books, this pales in comparison. I liked Elise, but the love story part of the book left something lacking for me. It was almost creepy. Elise has no romantic interest in her suitors because she grew up with them, knowing them as brothers. The story itself was good and I liked the self-sacrifice parts of the book. The brothers were well characterized, if a bit silly at times. My main (and very large) problem with the book was the ending. What a cop-out. After going through the novel and wondering with excitement who Elise will choose, we get to the end only to find ourselves in a choose-your-favorite-love-interest? WHAT? I was ticked. That authorial choice was poor in my opinion. It really lowered the book and the journey you took to figure out who Elise chooses. I hated that. I would’ve liked the book much more if the author had simply let Elise choose, or even told us in a round-about way in a later book. In my opinion, just skip this book and read the other two.