By Julie Daines
In the years since the fever that took both her family and her ability to walk, sixteen-year-old Bronwen has been relegated to the lonely status of cripple. But when a fortuitous encounter with a mysterious mountain witch reveals the magical possibility of regaining the use of her legs, Bronwen can’t help but envision the life she never had. Powerless to resist the promise of a second chance, Bronwen dons the enchanted but homely shoes the witch gives her and embarks on a journey that takes her from her small village in the countryside to the glittering court of the king—and from a lonely life of solitude to a life filled with attention from two very different young men. But when Bronwen’s desire to be accepted leads to compounding lies and a mountain of trouble, the power of true love is tested. Can Brownwen’s dream of being happy, whole, and loved ever be attained?
After looking at the cover for this book I was expecting some kind of twist on the Cinderella story, and that tinted my reading of the book, but in a good way. I felt like I was reading a fairy tale retelling but wasn’t quite sure which fairy tale. I liked this easy-to-read story and enjoyed the setting of Wales. Bronwen is a girl who gets the chance to see what her life could’ve been if circumstance and sickness hadn’t changed her fate. She is a cripple, and feels like she will never have the life she dreams of with a husband and family of her own one day. She knows that no man will want a crippled wife. So she sets about her daily chores trying to content herself with her home and the things she can still do. But when she is kind to a witch, she finds herself bequeathed a ratty pair of shoes that are much more than they seem. They give her healthy legs again, but at a cost. She sets out at the urging of her mother to present herself to the court. It is there that she learns how different life is for her now that others see her as ‘whole’. Throw in two different men who both care for her in different ways, and all the lies that she has told to keep her secret, Bronwen has found that life isn’t easy even when you’ve got two sturdy legs to stand on. This is a quick read that is more than just a romantic story, it’s a story about being honest and true to yourself and recognizing that strength is about more than being whole or broken.
I give it a 3.5 out of 5