Galen marches home from a war that has raged his land for more than a decade towards that only family he has left. He’s never met them, but his mother has told him stories about his aunt and uncle in Bruch. They are the caretakers of the King’s gardens and put him right to work. He hears rumors from the palace of strange happenings with the princesses, but when the princesses get extremely ill, solving the puzzle may mean the difference between life and death.
Rose wishes that she could explain to her father why all her sisters dancing slippers wear out so often, and where they disappear to every night. No matter how many guards he sets he can never find out what is going on, and Rose and her sisters can never tell him. For they inherited their mother’s debt to King Understone—to dance in his court each night. Then Galen determines to solve the mystery of their curse, and for the first time in a long time Rose has hope.
I really loved this book, but I knew I would from the instant I saw Jessica Day George’s name and the pretty princess on the cover. It enjoyed it so much that I immediately wanted to read the book over again once I finished it. It has a strong engaging plot, and I really loved Galen’s character. The other reviews I’ve read have complained that the sisters aren’t characterized very well, but there are twelve of them. I think George did a good job for the constraints of the book, but I think Galen is the most developed character. So yes, I also think it was really unique that Galen likes to knit, though I have seen this phenomenon before. My own brother learned how to crochet (from our cousin that was a boy) and really enjoyed making hats. I lived in a ward in southern Utah where we would hold quilting activities on occasion and the men would join in to tie the quilts when they were on a frame. My Dad totally loved doing this!
So, go read this book if you haven’t read it. I think boys would even like it. I love the cover, but boys would never pick it up on account of it. So, go be sneaky and disguise the cover somehow and trick a guy into reading it. Tell them it’s about a soldier who comes home from war. It really is wonderful!