Feature book: Words Once Spoken
Evelyn likes to be outdoors, she hunts, rides, makes her own bow and eats flowers and vines. She likes to sleep on moss and gets claustrophobia being in windowless hallways. She prefers a tunic and breeches to dresses and has a close bond with her horse Mara. She is approaching her eighteenth birthday and her mother burns her hunting clothes and bow and puts her in dresses and drags her off to present her to the King’s family.
Lord Devon, a mysterious young man Evelyn meets in the King’s castle, seems to be similar to her; he eats the same type of fare as she does and begins to teach her things, all the while maintaining a smirk. While Evelyn enjoys his company, she doesn’t fully trust Padraic Devon.
Prince Liam is son to the King and provides Evelyn with a safe haven from the courtiers and other social climbers gathered in the King’s castle. Against tradition, and in secret, he provides Evelyn with books to read and shares his hidden library with her. She enjoys his company, but has little alone time with him as her mother continually requests her attendance on his sister Princess Nuala.
Evelyn enjoys Liam’s company but overhears a conversation his father, the King, is having where he plans to use Evelyn as leverage. She finds out that Liam doesn’t know of his father’s plans, but she still feels slightly unsure of him. Padraic seems jealous of any time that Liam and Evelyn spend together and appears more mysterious and worldly than Liam. Padraic provides gifts to Evelyn too, but her heart seems to look more to Liam than Padraic.
This is a coming of age story combined with a quest, and there is a heroine rather than the usual hero. It’s a fantasy story and while there is a thread of romance running through the tale, it is essentially a quest story with memory tickling names and folklore entwined in interesting ways. There are twists, turns, fey/elves, werewolves, vampires, red caps and various other unseelie/seelie creatures. Apologies to the author, but the start of the story reminds me of a Disney movie and the images it evokes are of a slightly older version of Princess Merida from Brave. This book is the start of a longer tale and it will be interesting to see what the author does next with the story.
Reviewed by Gina
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.