Once Upon a Winter's Night
by Dennis McKiernan
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
480 pages; ISBN: 0451458400
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Camille, the youngest of six daughters with a younger ailing brother, lives with her impoverished family near the end of the human world and the start of the fairy realm. She finds happiness singing while working in the field and playing games with her brother. The six female siblings have little hope for marriage because there is no money for a dowry.
However, everything changes when a bear arrives at their hovel. The bear carries a message from Prince Alain of Summerwood stating he wishes to marry Camille and if his proposal is accepted he will pay a bride price that will leave her family in modest luxury. Camille and her brother say no, but the rest of her kin accept. Camille gives in when she realizes her brother can obtain needed medicine.
Camille rides the bear through Springwood to Winterwood to Autumnwood until she finally reaches her destination of Summerwood. There she meets Prince Alain who wears a mask. Still, Camille and Alain begin to fall in love, but she tries to lift the curse that is destroying him without realizing the consequences of her actions. Still, she willingly will go into hell if need be to rescue her beloved.
ONCE UPON A WINTER’S NIGHT is a superb adult fairy tale that children of all ages will enjoy. The story line is charming and magical as it takes readers on quite a ride in the realm of Fairy. Camille is a great female protagonist and the melancholy Alain, who finds brief respites with his beloved, is an enigmatic hero. Dennis McKiernan escorts fantasy lovers into an enchanted place that deserves more tales, perhaps those starring Alain’s siblings and even a prequel starring his parents.
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